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Hong Kong courts

Pet owner jailed for one year after depriving 14 dogs of food, forcing them to eat one another

Eight dogs died in flat after chef’s work and relationship problems led to his 14 pets being neglected

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 06 December, 2017, 7:10am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 06 December, 2017, 2:48pm

A Hong Kong chef was slapped with a one-year jail sentence on Tuesday for neglecting his 14 dogs, eight of whom died after they were starved of food and water.

Sentencing Lo Kong-un, acting principal magistrate Ivy Chui Yee-mei said the animals had been left to fend for themselves and were forced to feed off dead dogs after a number died due to the neglect.

Tuen Mun Court heard in mitigation that the case had arisen from Lo’s work and relationship problems, which led to him evading his responsibility to look after the dogs, as well as five turtles, between July 15 and 27.

Lo’s relationship with his girlfriend had soured and an investment had gone bad.

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Chui criticised Lo for being “cruel” and showing no respect for the animals’ lives.

Before putting him behind bars, the judge stressed that she needed to send a clear message to the public.

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Lo, 32, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to one count of cruelty to animals and another of keeping a dog without a licence.

The court heard how the incident took place at a single-storey flat with a front yard which the defendant was renting at Fung Kat Heung in the New Territories.

After noticing Lo’s dogs were not barking and a foul stench coming from the premises, the landlord contacted police on July 27. The property owner tried to call Lo to ask him to return home, but to no avail.

When police arrived at the flat, they found eight dog carcasses, two of which had decayed such that their bones were visible. The environment was described as poor and unhygienic.

Six dogs were found alive but in a weakened state, the court heard, with the five turtles underweight and dry.

Experts examining the dogs noted that the mouth of one of the canines had blood-tinged saliva, indicating cannibalism. The dogs were also covered with faeces.

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Lo was arrested on July 28. He told police that he had left the house on July 15 and returned on July 21. He claimed that upon his return he had seen all the dogs lying on the floor and left without checking on them because he was scared and thought they were all dead.

In mitigation, Lo’s lawyer said the defendant had been an animal-lover who had been willing to pay more to buy a large home and better food for them.

But these aspirations did not materialise, the lawyer said, after Lo suffered a loss of HK$100,000 from an investment in a food and beverage business in mainland China. In addition, his relationship with his girlfriend had taken a turn for the worse at the time.

The animals are now with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the court heard.