LCQ18: Dog keeping in Public Rental Housing

     Following is a question by the Hon Albert Chan and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Ms Eva Cheng, in the Legislative Council today (January 26):


     In October 2003, the Housing Department (HD) introduced a "temporary permission" arrangement whereby the tenants of public rental housing (PRH) who were then keeping dogs would be allowed to continue keeping their dogs after registration with HD and obtaining approval, whereas those who did not keep any dog at that time are not allowed to do so in PRH.  However, with economic development in recent years, more and more members of the public, including PRH tenants, would like to keep dogs.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the number of PRH tenants who are keeping dogs lawfully at present, with a detailed list of the names of those public housing estates concerned;

(b) of the numbers of PRH tenants who were allotted penalty points or prosecuted for unlawful dog-keeping in PRH in each of the past three years, with a detailed list of the names of those public housing estates concerned; and

(c) whether the Housing Authority will consider relaxing the restrictions on dog-keeping in suitable public housing estates to allow PRH tenants to keep dogs; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?



     As public rental housing (PRH) estates are densely populated with very limited space in domestic blocks and public areas, keeping of dogs and other animals may cause adverse effect to the environmental hygiene.  In this light, the tenancy agreements signed by the Hong Kong Housing Authority (HA) and all tenants clearly stipulates that the tenant should not keep any animal and livestock in the premises without the prior written consent of the HA.  Under the Marking Scheme for Estate Management Enforcement (the Marking Scheme) which was introduced in 2003, unauthorised animal-keeping is included as one of the misdeeds where points would be allotted.  Taking into consideration views offered by tenants and interest groups on pet and dog keeping, the HA implemented the Temporary Permission Rule (TPR) to allow PRH tenants to continue to keep small dogs that had been kept in PRH flats before August 1, 2003 until the death of such dogs.  This arrangement is a one-off measure.

     For desexed cats and small household pets which do not pose any public health hazard or nuisance, keeping of them is allowed and no prior registration is required.

My reply to the three-part question is as follows:

(a) As at end 2010, there were some 8 400 PRH tenants in 159 estates permitted to keep dogs under the TPR.  The relevant estates are set out in Table 1 of the Annex.

(b) From 2008 to 2010, the Housing Department (HD) recorded some 340, 680 and 580 cases respectively involving 137 estates whereby points were allotted under the Marking Scheme for unauthorised dog keeping.  The relevant estates are set out in Table 2 of the Annex.

(c) As mentioned above, given PRH estates are densely populated, keeping of dogs and other animals may cause adverse effect to the environmental hygiene.  HD consulted about 140 Estate Management Advisory Committees (EMACs) on the policy of strictly prohibiting the keeping of unauthorised dogs in end 2010 and all EMACs concerned indicated support to continue with the policy on banning unauthorised dog keeping in PRH.  With a view to providing our tenants with a clean and hygienic living environment, the HA has no intention to further relax the control on dog-keeping by PRH tenants.

Ends/Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Issued at HKT 13:00