People could save money when buying neutered or spayed pets under legislation proposed by the Agricultural, Fisheries and Conservation Department. The executive director of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Chris Hanselman, said the government had suggested making de-sexed animals cheaper to licence. The proposal, which is in the final stages of drafting, is part of a campaign to promote responsible pet ownership and increase animal rights. He added that pet owners who did not consider carefully before buying an animal contributed to the 40,000 animals that were dumped every year. The founder of the Animals Asia Foundation, Jill Robinson, said: 'There are many pet owners in Hong Kong but a great number of people still see dogs as disposable merchandise. Hong Kong should consider becoming the first Asian country to elevate the status of dogs and cats. They deserve a higher level of respect . . . not just protection against pain,' she said. Mr Hanselman hopes the department's proposals - which include a revised definition of what constitutes cruelty - will be presented to the Legislative Council this year. The department could not be reached for comment.