Hong Kong courts

Man who threw dog from Hong Kong rooftop because he was ‘annoyed by its barking’ given four-month hospital order

West Kowloon Court heard dog had been living with Hugo Ho and his parents all its life before he killed it in ‘moment of impulse’

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 May, 2018, 8:42pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 May, 2018, 10:44pm

A Hong Kong man who threw a dog from the roof of a 28-storey building because he was annoyed by its barking was given a four-month hospital order on Thursday.

West Kowloon Court heard the dog had been living with Hugo Ho Tsz-kwan, 23, and his parents for the whole of its 10-year life before he killed it last month in “a moment of impulse”.

“I regret the offence very much and beg for forgiveness,” Ho said in a letter to the court tabled after he pleaded guilty to one count of cruelty to animals. The offence is punishable by three years’ imprisonment and a fine of HK$200,000 (US$25,480).

Acting principal magistrate Ada Yim Shun-yee said Ho’s offence should have warranted a minimum of six months’ imprisonment as it brought unnecessary pain to the animal. But having considered his psychiatric assessment, she accepted the experts’ recommendation for a hospital order that could be beneficial to both Ho’s health and the public interest.

The furry white Japanese spitz made headlines just days before its death after it was spotted leaping into Victoria Harbour in Tsim Sha Tsui on a balmy afternoon, prompting marine police to come to the rescue.

At the time no injuries were found on the dog, but a verbal warning was issued to its owner, Ho’s mother, when she came to pick up her pet.

Two turtles thrown from same building as Victoria Harbour dog

The court heard the dog lived with Ho’s family on the ninth floor of Cheung Fai Building in Cheung Sha Wan.

At about 6am on April 4, Ho walked the dog to the building’s rooftop – on the 28th floor – and suddenly threw the animal through the fences. It landed on the second floor of the building.

A police report was made after a neighbour heard a “bang” from the platform.

Ho initially denied the offence, claiming he was not at home at the time. But he later admitted throwing the animal off the roof out of impulse because he felt angry and annoyed.

He also told police he hated living with the dog.

On Thursday, Ho said through his lawyer in mitigation that he committed the offence because he was annoyed by the dog’s barking.

The lawyer also revealed Ho was the breadwinner of the family, supporting his retired parents with a monthly income of up to HK$3,000 while working as a salesman at a stationery shop.

Court-ordered psychiatric reports found Ho was suitable for plea but recommended a hospital order of four to six months.

The Japanese white spitz is a medium-sized breed known for its white fur and has a lifespan of up to 16 years.