The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Amendment) Bill 2006 was passed by Hong Kong's Legislative Council Wednesday. It imposes heavier penalties for animal cruelty offenses to act as a stronger deterrent.
With the new Bill, the maximum penalty for acts of animal cruelty will be increased from the current fine of 5,000 HK dollars (US$641) and imprisonment of six months to a fine of 200,000 HK dollars (US$25,641) and a three year jail term.
The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said the new penalties would send out a clear message that society wouldn’t tolerate such cruelty.
Concerning animal welfare a department spokesman urged pet owners to provide adequate care to their animals and not to abandon them. "One must respect the lives of animals and carefully consider the care requirements of a pet before getting one,” he said.
Anyone aware of animal cruelty should call the police or the department through the Government hotline 1823.
With Christmas and New Year holidays just around the corner pets are often given as presents. The department advises that those presenting such gifts should ensure the recipients were capable of taking proper care of the animals.
(Xinhua News Agency December 7, 2006)