Hong Kong needs to become dog-friendly like other world cities

PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 October, 2016, 4:45pm
UPDATED : Friday, 28 October, 2016, 10:57pm

Hong Kong compares miserably with New York, where a landlord cannot suddenly enforce the rule of no dog-keeping if you have openly kept a pet for three months.

Here you can have kept your dog from puppy to old age but it still has to be removed if outdated regulations demand it.

Dog owners should not have to skulk around hiding their pets in bags in order to take them out for exercise.

If pet ownership was welcomed rather than suppressed, our sense of well-being might actually be greatly improved because dogs make us happy.

In other countries, it is natural to consider a dog part of the family, but in Hong Kong a court order can demand the “no dogs allowed” clause of a deed of mutual covenant be rigidly enforced, permitting lawyers to order families to part with their dogs, even though dog keeping may have been unchallenged for years.

It makes it all the more heartbreaking when the law is removing them from a loving home. How can we as a society be expected to learn compassion when the law can be so cruel?

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying owns dogs and he could do more to enable ownership, and to allow dogs access to more places.

I agree with Dennis Li (“Dog bans on promenades make no sense”, October 14) the harbourfront promenade should permit dogs to be walked. The temporary Wan Chai harbourfront pet walk became very popular and the harbourfront promenade can be considered its replacement.

If we continue to ban dogs from public areas, this fear of dogs, which appears prevalent in Hong Kong, will not disappear. Children will be brought up with the mentality that dogs are to be avoided rather than embraced for their companionship. Owning a dog can teach a child responsibility and nurture kindness.

How can we instil in them a caring attitude if they are indoctrinated to fear dogs because seeing them is a rare occurrence instead of a common one.

Devoted owners do not deserve to be treated like criminals, and the courts should not permit forced removal of their dogs. Laws are made to be adapted as times and attitudes change.

The government seems to be turning a deaf ear to calls for change, but Hong Kong needs to become enlightened, move with the times, follow the example of other world cities and become dog-friendly.

Joan Miyaoka, Sha Tin