An animal shelter in Ping Che was penalised with a harsh fine of HKD 230,000 for land use violation. The shelter has previously spent HKD 100,000 for land restoration, and it cannot afford such a huge amount of penalty. Facing the risk of shutting down, the shelter initiated a crowdfunding and successfully raised enough funds within a day. Thanks to the kind-hearted public, the shelter may continue to operate, saving the dogs and cats there from the miserable fate of euthansia.
As the case has come to an end, Legislator Gary Chan has pledged to help the shelter apply for a change of land use. The World Dog Alliance (WDA) believes that the judge failed to consider the special situation of the shelter, and that it was a huge mistake to pass such a heavy penalty. WDA wrote to the judiciary department to express concerns.
Here are the main points of the letter of complaint.
- The WDA is very disappointed with the verdict.
- The animal shelter has a very tight budget. It has previously spent over HKD100,000 to restore the land. It is impossible for the shelter to afford a penalty of HKD 230,000. If the shelter were to shut down, 250 dogs and cats there would be euthanized by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department.
- This a verdict without mercy. The animal shelter takes care of stray animals and runs on a non-profit basis. Given the context, it would only be reasonable for the court to give it a lenient sentence. Sadly, the fine of HKD 230,000 is too stiff that the shelter simply could not bear it. Any person with empathy and love of animals would find such a verdict unacceptable.
- The verdict reminds the public of the case in Sham Tseng, in which the suspects of an animal abuse case were not prosecuted by the Department of Justice. The legal loopholes allow animal abusers to walk free while animal rescuers get severely punished. WDA will launch campaigns to close the loopholes and make Hong Kong’s judiciary system more animal-friendly.