The death of a dog on the MTR's East Rail Line was "an unfortunate incident that no one wanted to see", said the MTR Corporation's acting chief executive officer.
It was Lincoln Leong's first comments on the incident, in which a dog was run over by a cross-border train last Wednesday. Nearly 100,000 people have signed an online petition to express their anger over the railway's failure to save the animal.
"No one wanted to see this happening," Leong said. "Together with my colleagues at the MTR, we are really unhappy about it."
He said the corporation was in contact with animal rights groups to see how the incident could have been better handled.
Leong spoke out after a coalition of three staff unions slammed the company's operations director, Dr Jacob Kam Chak-pui, for issuing an early apology shortly after the accident. They said management should decide whether to apologise only after an investigation.
In response, Kam said he understood the daily pressure frontline staff faced. "We are reviewing and examining certain handling procedures," he said.
In addition, Leong, who was addressing a press conference, apologised to passengers for train delays in the first seven months of the year. From January to July, the MTR saw eight delays of more than half an hour each.