The Economics of the Right to Keep a Dog

A Case Study of a Private Housing Complex in Hong Kong

In: Society & Animals
Yung Yau City University of Hong Kong

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Shuk Man Chiu The University of Hong Kong

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Dog guardianship has gained popularity in many cities as a result of animal domestication. In spite of its benefits, dog guardianship in high-density urban housing creates certain problems, including increased health risks. Conflicts between different interested parties over the right to keep dogs have therefore surfaced. In Hong Kong, a lawsuit was initiated by a resident in a private housing estate, Mei Foo Sun Chuen, to overturn dog bans imposed by the property management company. The court’s judgment stated that dog bans are enforceable only if dogs are explicitly prohibited in the deed of mutual covenant. This study aims to value empirically the right to keep dogs in private housing based on an analysis of a set of housing transaction data in Hong Kong. It also investigates how the value of the right has changed with the court judgment. The findings suggest that the right was negatively valued by the market, but the court judgment increased its value. These results demonstrate a revealed preference of the Hong Kong community for dog guardianship in a high-rise living environment.

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