Most dog owners are responsible
I refer to the letter from Justin O'Brien ('It makes sense in high-density HK for housing estates to impose dog ban', July 8), replying to my letter ('Dog-free estates are wrong', July 1).
Aren't the dogs getting a rough deal when it is the owners' responsibility to clean up and control them in a reasonable manner? There are no bad dogs, only bad owners.
Mr O'Brien has a good point: lazy dog owners should not be allowed to despoil the living environment of other residents, and all dogs should be leashed in public. It is definitely up to the estate management to prosecute owners who permit their dogs to urinate and defecate in public areas and don't clean up the mess. However, most owners are law-abiding, treat their pets as family members and clean up after them. It is the inconsiderate few who are spoiling it for the rest of us. I hope parents can nurture love of animals in their children.
Interaction with animals should be an essential part of the upbringing of any child, and can be, even in Hong Kong's cramped environment.
Hong Kong is a very expensive city. It is virtually impossible for people to be able to afford the luxury of residing wherever they please. It would be detrimental to society if only the wealthy were permitted the privilege of owning a dog.
Education is important. A compulsory training course for owners, and amahs who may be required to take care of them, when a dog is adopted, would be a good idea.
Also, advice should be readily available for would-be dog owners as to which breeds are suitable for their home.
Anyone found mistreating a pet should receive a stiff custodial sentence and be banned from owning animals. The present sentences are too lenient. Hong Kong is a stressful place and pet dogs help alleviate that stress.
By all means take action against recalcitrant owners but don't ban dogs. With a responsible owner dogs really can be 'man's best friend'.
Joan Miyaoka, Sha Tin
Are hunters whiter than white?
It seems that the game of hunting for illegal or unauthorised structures, first started in Henry Tang Ying-yen's house, is highly contagious.
It spreads like wildfire through the city, catching chief executives and principal officials, past and present, in its path.
While the attention of nearly all the citizens is focused on the outcome of the hunt, those who uncovered the irregularities and some lawmakers seem to enjoy pursuing their games to their tragic end.
It would be an interesting experiment to find out how many of these hunters do not have such illegal or unauthorised structures in their own homes. Then they can, as Jesus said, 'cast the first stone'.
Simon Yau, Kowloon City
Scandals have become the norm
Leading up to, during, and now in the aftermath of the so-called election for Hong Kong's new governing clique, your readers have been bombarded with columns and letters criticising senior government leaders, past and present.
They have been attacked for their woeful lack of integrity, accountability and honour - made clear by various scandals and the failure of the accused to own up to their misdeeds.
Might I suggest this has now merely become the norm of 'politics with Hong Kong characteristics'?
Charles Henning, Honolulu, Hawaii, US
Turn to more important matters
I follow the news of Hong Kong from afar as, although I am a permanent resident, I now reside overseas.
I couldn't help but be amused by the recent comments on Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's home and the so-called illegal structures.
I would like to take the trellis as an example. We have put in two trellises in our driveway for the climbing plants to grow so as to provide shade to lower the temperature of the outside space of our house.
We also put a canopy over our swimming pool to provide some shade. Also, it means we can use the pool even when it is raining.
We installed an en suite in our loft and the contractor applied to the local authority for approval.
I believe perhaps the appropriate Hong Kong authorities need to classify clearly and distinctly what kind of renovation needs approval.
To build an en suite plus a stair involved a structural engineer for the construction and it definitely needed the council's approval.
On the other hand, a trellis for a climbing plant in the garden, does it really need approval from the authorities?
Many handymen (the DIY culture) can install this over the course of a weekend.
There are other priorities for Hong Kong that need to be attended to more urgently, such as housing for the poor and the less privileged, the wide wealth gap, genuine corruption issues, and the monopoly enjoyed by certain businesses.
These are just my views that I would like to share with the people of my beloved Hong Kong.
B. Elledge, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
We need full disclosure on contracts
Three prominent pro-Beijing loyalists are directors of a firm which picks up plum contracts for production of political material ('Biased texts got HK$72m funding', July 11). How could this look any worse?
It is essential that the so-called 'proper procedures' employed in granting these contracts be fully scrutinised.
If it was not done through an open and transparent bidding process, the books of the beneficiary companies should be thrown open to see just how the money was spent.
Malcolm I'Anson, Wan Chai
Old landfills perfect for columbarium
There is a serious shortage of columbarium niches in Hong Kong and building new columbariums creates logistical difficulties in this city.
I think the best locations for new columbariums would be closed landfill sites. There are a lot of them and they are some distance from urban areas. There is less likelihood of opposition to construction coming from district councils or citizens.
These used landfill areas have low redevelopment potential. Their value will rise with columbarium projects. Also, because the base of these sites is still too weak to support high-rise buildings, columbariums are perfect.
Also, although they are remote, many trucks travelled to the landfills when they were still operational and so there are good road links which will make the columbariums accessible for visiting relatives and staff. Furthermore, the noise and air pollution caused by relatives of the deceased will be mild compared to the pollution created by the treatment of refuse when the sites were working landfills. There will be very little disturbance caused to the public.
Some might argue that having a columbarium above piles of buried refuse is disrespectful to the dead. There will have to be public consultation and the feedback will indicate whether or not this is a viable proposal.
Other options have been proposed, such as using old factory buildings, but they are located in densely populated urban areas and the columbariums would cause a disturbance to residents.
I think the use of former landfills is the only way we can meet the demand for niches from the public.
Lam Tsz-sing, Sheung Wan
Car park design is flawed
I use the Kam Din Terrace car park in Taikoo Shing which is managed by Wilson Parking.
There are a few aspects of this car park's design which I find annoying.
The refuse collection room is located just beside the entrance at the ground floor and there is always an unpleasant smell.
Some parking bays have been put in positions that make the angle for turning very tight. This obviously causes problems for the drivers and makes the cars in those bays vulnerable.
At the exit on the second floor, again because of the bad design of the car park, with the positioning of columns vehicles have to make a sharp left turn to get out.
This can lead to vehicles being damaged and you see marks on a column where they grazed it.
I hope that Wilson Parking will look into these problems.
S. Lam, Quarry Bay