A plan to pay owners $3,000 to surrender their fighting dogs for destruction has come under fire. The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said the sum was too high and would encourage profiteering. The Hong Kong Veterinary Association said it was essential to avoid any misuse of the payment plan. Legislators were told in a government paper the administration's aim was to encourage the voluntary surrender of fighting dogs. Officials argued that adequate safeguards were already in place to prevent abuse. 'The owner of the fighting dog must hold a valid dog licence to be eligible for the payment,' the paper says. The administration said some of the submissions reflected a mistaken belief that large dogs would be required to be muzzled in all public places under the Dangerous Dogs Regulation draft. 'The muzzling requirement relates only to indoor public places, such as lifts, corridors, lobbies, etc, where dogs and humans may be co-occupying confined areas. 'Large dogs are required to be both muzzled and on a leash not exceeding 1.5 metres in indoor public places only,' it said. Another controversial proposal in the draft bill is that large dogs will have to pass an examination to be exempted from a law forcing them to be muzzled.