'Better housing for all' is the motto of the Housing Authority. It is a noble vision. A lot of people misinterpret it. They seem to think the government is lashing out about 13 per cent of annual expenditure ($38 billion last year) to provide homes for mutts, moggies, terrapins and hamsters as well as people. Once again, we're subjected to yelping protests from anti-social law-breakers who insist on ignoring regulations and keeping pets in public housing. This is expressively forbidden - for excellent and sensible reasons. Yet selfish and foolish people insist on their 'rights' to keep animals in small flats which were designed for human beings. Let's get it crystal clear. There are no such rights. Keeping pets in public housing is a blatant defiance of prudent regulations. People who break these rules risk being tossed out of their homes and such harsh punishment richly serves them right. The outcry has been raised before. This time, in the wake of Sars, it is a lot more serious. There seems a definite link between animals and the disease that killed 299 Hongkongers and devastated the economy. It is now more essential than ever to enforce long-standing rules that ban pets from public housing. Take it further - it's time for management committees in privately owned buildings to ask if they want to ban pets from their premises. In many cases, the answer from worried residents will be: 'Yes, kick out the mutts!' In the case of public housing, there is no doubt. Sorry, but Fido has to go. There will be much anguish for people who love their pets. Animal-rights bleaters claim up to 300,000 families in estates keep pets. I doubt this, but even if it is so, people should have thought of this when they decided to adopt an animal and illegally turn a government flat into a kennel. Snarling and barking, yapping and crapping, dogs have no place in public estates. If residents work, the animals are home alone. Are they house trained? Who's going to quiet barking dogs? One thing puzzles me. There's an extensive underground of people breaking the law and posing potential health threats to their neighbours but housing managers don't nab them. How come? How can tens of thousands of people harbour animals in their flats without supposedly full-time staff knowing about it? Well, we all know the answer to that. To diligently hunt down pets in estates is too much trouble. It would lead to certain confrontation with enraged pet owners. So regulations have been studiously ignored. Let's hope Team Clean headed by Chief Secretary Donald Tsang Yam-kuen instils some backbone in Housing Department staff who are supposedly spearheading a big estates cleanup. They need it. The department cravenly says it hopes the grace period 'allows the community to have a thorough debate on the issue before a conclusion is drawn'. Why debate it? Why on earth can't they simply enforce their own regulations? Since a disastrous Christmas Eve fire in 1953 stunned Hong Kong and left 53,000 squatters homeless, our community has made a massive and proud commitment to provide homes for all. The public housing drive of the past half-century is arguably the finest achievement of our community. The government has 1,088,029 flats for sale or rent. Slightly more than half the population live in public housing. A month ago, Team Clean and the Housing Department announced the housing estate demerit points system that penalises residents who break the rules; get 16 points in two years and you're out on the street. But they made a basic error in giving a two-month grace period for people who keep pets or livestock in public flats. All this does is give pet owners time to parade in protest in front of television cameras. It also gives scope for psychologists and other do-gooders to expand on pet theories (pun intended) that it is good for the soul for people to keep animals. This may well be so. But it's not too good for the health or serenity of neighbours if your pet is a smelly, noisy, unhygienic creature. I know it's unfair that 50 per cent of children in Hong Kong are not able to enjoy the experience of growing up with a cat or dog. But, realistically, please, what's the alternative? We cannot afford to risk another Sars outbreak. Public housing is for people. Pets should be barred.