Woman admits tying dogs' mouths to stop barking

Shau Kei Wan resident was trying to reduce noise disturbance to neighbours, court told

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 07 June, 2013, 3:55am

A woman pleaded guilty to silencing four of her dogs late last year by tying rubber straps round their mouths after neighbours in Shau Kei Wan complained of their barking.

The straps hurt the animals' mouths and noses, leading to swelling, Eastern Court heard yesterday.

Maggie Tsui Mee-kie, 36, admitted to two counts of cruelty to animals.

Defence counsel Lawrence Hui described Tsui as a dog lover who took stray dogs home because she was afraid they would be put down if she passed them to the authorities.

At the time she was found out, she was keeping 11 strays in a kennel at home, the court heard.

Magistrate Joseph To Ho-shing said it was beyond Tsui's ability to take care of 11 dogs. Her "good intentions resulted in wrongdoing", he said.

To said tying up the animals' mouths to stop them from barking was not expected of a reasonable person. He said Tsui might have psychological issues to deal with, and ordered psychological and psychiatric reports on her.

The court heard that Tsui was preparing to move to a bigger home for the sake of her pets.

In December, an officer with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals visited Tsui after a neighbour told the charity that two of her dogs had their mouths clamped shut, the court heard. The officer detected a stench and saw one such dog. He then made a police report.

The four dogs are now in the care of the SPCA. To adjourned the sentencing to August 1. Tsui is released on bail.