Owners would be requested to license their dogs or renew the license within seven days if their dogs were found without any valid permits, after which they will be asked to present the license at designated Animal Management Centres.

Under the Rabies Regulation, all dogs aged over five months must be licensed, with the licenses having to be renewed at intervals not exceeding three years. Any dog owner failing to do so is liable to a maximum fine of HK$10,000 upon conviction.

The move came after the city’s Ombudsman recommended authorities keep a tighter leash on local dog owners after finding more than 167,000 unlicensed and unvaccinated canines during inspections over the past decade.

Ombudsman Winnie Chiu Wai-yin said earlier that the dog-licensing system originated from the government’s efforts to prevent and control rabies and protect public health.

“Relying on education and dog keepers’ self-discipline alone is insufficient,” said Chiu.