Backward attitude to owning pets in Hong Kong must change

PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 October, 2017, 3:48pm
UPDATED : Friday, 20 October, 2017, 11:01pm

We know more about the nature of animals than ever before. Pet companions are beneficial to our well-being, which is all the more reason to be proactive about protecting them.

Education is key, but if parents set a bad example and fail to understand compassion, how can their children learn to be kind? The recent fiasco over a cat accused of scratching a five-year-old is a perfect example (“Fur flies in city over feline in quarantine for scratching boy”, October 11).

By making such a fuss, the parent will not instil a love of cats in her son. Parents who show their dislike of companion animals perpetuate such behaviour, teaching their children to be fearful of animals instead of loving them.

At Los Angeles airport, the PUP programme helps de-stress passengers by encouraging them to meet pet dogs (“Man’s best friend gets new role in American airports”, September 12), while in highly stressed Hong Kong, we have “No dogs allowed” stickers plastered everywhere.

If it is encouraged to become a more humane international city, perhaps people will become less belligerent and more considerate towards one another.

The law allowing a few malicious residents to suddenly enforce the no-dogs-allowed regulation on housing estates, after years of acquiescence to dog keeping, needs to be reviewed.

When owners are able to provide an excellent standard of care and follow codes of conduct to eliminate any disturbance to neighbours, forced removal is unreasonable. Since pet ownership is now known to have a positive mental and physical effect, such narrow-mindedness belongs to the last century and should remain there.

Pet ownership should be embraced, not hidden from sight, feelings need to change; pets are so much more than an accessory or possession, a pet is a member of the family and deserves to be treated as such.

Joan Miyaoka, Sha Tin