Woof justice: owners slam picture of husky in pamphlet on dangerous dogs

Owners have bone to pick with government over dangerous dogs leaflet featuring 'docile' breed

PUBLISHED : Friday, 06 June, 2014, 3:40pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 07 June, 2014, 8:58am

Angry husky owners protested outside government offices in Cheung Sha Wan yesterday against a "dangerous dogs" pamphlet that uses a picture of the breed on its cover.

More than 20 husky owners, some with their canine pets, gathered outside the government offices in Sham Shui Po to demand that the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department retract the pamphlet.

"Huskies may be big in size, but they are not a breed known to be vicious or dangerous," said owner Rosa Lo Lai-wan. "To put their picture - and only a husky - on the front of a pamphlet on dangerous dogs is misleading and creates fear."

The pamphlet about the Dangerous Dogs Regulation, released on June 1, has sparked outrage among the city's husky owners.

More than 140 owners have already written letters to the government in protest.

"They are working dogs - they used to pull sleds for humans. They don't even have dangerous tendencies as a breed," she said.

Lo said the Hong Kong Huskies Club had more than 6,100 members.

Cynthia Smillie, a veterinary surgeon and behaviour consultant for the SPCA, said: "The Siberian husky is a good family dog. The characteristics of a husky are docile and affectionate.

"Although independent, it's very intelligent and fond of family and handlers.

"And because they are so friendly, they are actually not ideal watchdogs."

However, she added that Hong Kong was not an ideal place for huskies, as the breed requires several miles of vigorous walking every day. The hot weather was also an issue, as huskies were more suited to pulling sleighs through snow in cold temperatures.

Smillie said putting a husky on the "dangerous dogs" pamphlet was just an unfortunate choice made by the AFCD.

A spokesman for the AFCD said that the Dangerous Dogs Regulation regulated large dogs as well as fighting dogs. "The leaflet pictured a husky mainly because it is a common large dog breed in Hong Kong. In our records, more than 100 huskies have been involved in dog bite cases, ranking it among the top 10 of large dogs."

However, she said that the department had ceased distributing the leaflet and removed it from their website. Concerned members of the public had been notified by e-mail, she said.

In June last year an eight-month-old baby escaped serious injury when she was attacked by her family's two dogs, one a husky, in Pat Heung. The dogs bit and pawed the baby through the bars of her cot, police said.

In December 2012, a pet husky bit a 14-month-old girl on the head outside a supermarket in Mui Wo.