SINGAPORE: Hong Kong is considering amending its traffic laws to require drivers who run over cats and dogs to make a police report.
Secretary for Food and Health, Professor Sophia Chan revealed this in a written reply to a question by Legislative Council member Alice Mak on Wednesday (Oct 18).
Section 56 of Hong Kong’s Road Traffic Ordinance currently stipulates that the driver of a vehicle that has an accident on a road and causes damage to an animal must stop and report the incident to the police as soon as possible. However, that provision applies only to horses, cattle, asses, mules, sheep, pigs and goats, and does not include cats and dogs.
The Hong Kong government does not maintain statistics on the number of cats and dogs injured or killed after being hit by vehicles.
“We are reviewing the matter with reference to overseas practices. We will, upon conclusion of the review, consider amending the relevant legislation, and consult the Legislative Council and listen to the views of stakeholders in due course,” Prof Chan said.
The issue comes amid greater calls for the promotion of animal welfare and prevention of acts of cruelty to animals in Hong Kong.
The Hong Kong government attaches great importance to enhancing animal welfare, Prof Chan added, and will continue to “work pragmatically and strike a reasonable balance between protecting animal welfare and safeguarding public hygiene and safety”.
In a previous reply to an inquiry last year by lawmaker Hon Chan Hak-kan, then health minister Dr Ko Wing-man said that the government had studied the practices adopted in various overseas places, including the United Kingdom, Singapore – which included dogs in their laws - and New York, which covered both dogs and cats.