Nearly nine out of 10 pet owners say they do not have sufficient knowledge about laws on keeping pets in Hong Kong, a survey has found. The findings come as government animal import figures show people are ordering more exotic animals from overseas, including reptiles and rare birds, while the number of traditional pets, such as cats and dogs, holds steady. Maggie Ng Mui-man, chief editor of My Pet Magazine, which carried out the study, said legal knowledge was becoming increasingly necessary as more people adopted unusual pets. These animals may be protected or otherwise require import permits by law. She said failure to vaccinate pets and implant identity-checking microchips in dogs which are required by law were among the most common offences. AAThe Government should appoint a department to organise promotions on all pet rearing-related ordinances and reguL lations,'' Ms Ng said. The magazine polled 1,124 people last month and found 300 owned pets at home. Of the 300, 10 per cent said they knew nothing about the relevant ordiL nances, 34 per cent said they knew very little and 45 per cent claimed some knowledge of the laws. The combined total of 89 per cent compared to just three per cent who said they understood the laws perfectly. A total of 91 per cent said it was necessary, very necessary or absolutely necessary that government departments educate the public about the laws. Imports of reptiles mostly lizards and snakes rose from 177,036 in 1999 to 304,571 so far this year. The number of imported birds increased from 43,953 to 61,836. There were 1,164 cats imported in 1999, compared with 1,213 so far this year. A total of 2,813 dogs came from overseas in 1999, compared with 2,122 this year.