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Crime in Hong Kong

Hong Kong man gets 4 weeks’ jail for locking pet Pomeranian in car for hours while he was away delivering pizzas

Ho Hung-kei, 52, left dog unattended for 15 hours – just four months after receiving suspended two-week jail sentence for same offence

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 01 August, 2018, 6:07pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 01 August, 2018, 10:58pm

A Hong Kong man who locked his Pomeranian in his car for hours while he delivered pizzas was jailed for four weeks by a court on Wednesday and had the dog taken off him.

Delivery man Ho Hung-kei, 52, left his pet unattended for 15 hours – just four months after he was given a two-week jail sentence, suspended for two years, for locking up his dog in the car, Kwun Tong Court heard. Ho had lived in the car for about nine months.

Ho pleaded guilty before Magistrate Merinda Chow Yin-chu to two counts of keeping an animal in a way which may cause it needless or avoidable suffering.

The magistrate slammed his cruelty. “Why keep a dog when you have no place to stay?” Chow said.

“I had improved,” Ho pleaded.

But the magistrate rejected his claim and imposed a jail term of two weeks and activated the previous suspended sentence.

The offence is punishable by a maximum of three years’ imprisonment and a HK$200,000 (US$25,641) fine.

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The court heard a couple found Ho’s Pomeranian unattended inside a car parked at an open-air car park in Sai Kung at 9.45am on December 28 last year.

When they returned at 1pm to see the dog still in the car, a Ford Laser saloon, the woman called the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) while her husband prised open the windows to give the animal fresh air.

An SPCA employee called police after observing the airflow inside the car was unsatisfactory.

Firefighters smashed the car windows at 3.30pm to rescue the Pomeranian.

Ho returned to the car park after midnight to find his pet and the car gone.

He went to report his car missing at the police station and was arrested.

Under caution, he told investigators: “Sir, I needed to work and nobody could take care of the dog. I thought putting the dog in the car would be safer.”

A medical examination of the Pomeranian found it was suffering from an ear mite infection, with thick black discharge oozing from its ears.

SPCA vet Annabel Sutch said such mites usually appeared after the ears were left unclean for about three weeks. The dog winced in pain when Sutch treated the infection, the court heard.

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Prosecutors asked the court to deprive Ho of ownership of his pet, given the high risk of death to the dog if the defendant reoffended.

Ho’s lawyer said his client bought the car in April last year as his home, since he could not find a suitable place to rear the dog, which he had kept for three years.

“The defendant considered the dog’s safety but neglected its welfare,” the lawyer, surnamed Chiu, said. “The defendant regrets it very much.”

The SPCA will take care of the dog. A spokeswoman said the group is awaiting paperwork from the court. “Once cleared, we will arrange for adoption,” she said.