The health secretary has said that the government will propose law amendments to ensure drivers report cases to the police, if cats and dogs are harmed in traffic accidents.

The Road Traffic Ordinance says that drivers must stop and inform the police if an animal is injured in a traffic accident, but it has not been updated since 1972. The definition of animals in the section currently includes any horse, cow, donkey, mule, sheep, pig or goat.

File photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

At a special finance committee meeting at the legislature to scrutinise the annual budget, Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan was asked about the progress of review on covering cats and dogs in the Road Traffic Ordinance.

Chan said the government attaches importance to animal welfare and will look at international examples when considering changes to Hong Kong’s laws. It will seek to introduce a concept of positive duty of care upon animal keepers.

She said that the government plans to consult the legislature next month on amending the ordinance to cover cats and dogs, so that drivers will have to inform the police if such animals are injured in traffic accidents.

Currently, drivers may be liable to a fine of HK$15,000 and to imprisonment for six months if an accident involving injury to an animal –  under the current definition – is not reported.

Sophia Chan. Photo: GovHK.

The government said it does not have statistics on the number of traffic accidents involving cats or dogs being hit by vehicles.

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.