[Hong Kong Spotlight] Drivers to Bear Criminal Responsibilities for Hitting Dogs and Cats

The Government announced the Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill 2021. Drivers are required to stop their vehicles when hitting dogs and cats. Violators are liable to a fine of HKD 15,000 and imprisonment for 12 months.

Dogs and cats are not included in the current legislation. After public consultation, the Government decided to include dogs and cats in the amendment, so as to allow dogs and cats being rescued promptly in traffic accidents, thereby promoting the animal welfare in Hong Kong.

The original legislation provided that the driver of a vehicle shall stop if an accident involving that vehicle occurs whereby damage is caused to an animal other than one in or on that vehicle or a trailer drawn by it. Drivers are also required to provide particulars, including a name and address, to any police officer or any person having reasonable grounds for requiring them, otherwise the driver must report the accident to the Police as soon as possible and in any case not later than 24 hours after the accident. A driver failing to stop after a relevant accident is liable to a fine of $10,000 and imprisonment for 12 months, whereas a driver failing to provide particulars and report to the Police as soon as possible and within 24 hours is liable to a fine of $15,000 and imprisonment for six months.

Legislator Gary Chan Hak-kan welcomes the amendment from the Government. He found the original legislation outdated. It should fit the standards of a civilized society. Thus, he supports such a move.

The World Dog Alliance also welcomes the Government’s decision. There are quite a number of street dogs and cats in Hong Kong. This amendment provides them the same rights as other species. At the same time, it strengthens drivers’ awareness on animal welfare, allowing them to respect the lives of dogs and cats.