Friday, October 16, 2009

DIWALI WEEKEND VIEW: Serious Attempt At Digging Into Dog Problem - MALALYSIAKINI

The contentious issue of dogs, especially the strays, is finally getting serious attention from concerned parties keen on creating greater awareness among the public and local councillors on animal rights.
A forum was organized in conjunction with World Animal Day to bring animal lovers, NGOs, local councillors and the public to tackle the dog 'problem'.

It was organized by the Petaling Jaya Municipal Council's Health Department, the Department of Veterinary Services, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), Progressive Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), Pet Positive, local councils in Selangor and other NGOs.

anthony thanasayan mbpj councillor 200608 04Canine Action Team (CAT) committee chairman Anthony Thanasayan (left) stressed the importance of understanding dogs and treating them with respect.

This view is supported by State Executive Councillor Ronnie Liu and he said that we should appreciate the usefulness of dogs.

"However, we must control strays as it is a real issue and can be a nuisance.

"The local councils are looking into the best practices with SPCA and other NGOs to be implemented. This issue has been ignored for too long," he added.

According to Liu, the state government is willing to work with NGOs as he admitted that the local councils may not have enough specialist and expertise on handling animals.

Currently, the Petaling Jaya Municipal Council holds monthly meetings with CAT and representatives from other Selangor's local councillors to discuss on matters pertaining dogs.

With regards to the dog catching issue, Thanasayan said that there is no point in catching the strays if the public does not have a wholesome understanding of dogs and their value to the community.

"This action is only a knee jerk reaction and will not be sustainable in the long term," he said.

Free licence for the disabled and elderly

Thanasayan said that other local councils should adopt the move made by the Shah Alam Municipal Council where licensing of dogs by the disabled and elderly is waived.

" We live in fear that our dogs will be caught by dog catchers for the lack of licensing.

"It is a great hassle for many disabled to get out of the house much more to purchase a license as many of them are not able to afford one," Thanasayan added . He was born disabled and is wheelchair bound.

Liu, on his part said that he encourages other local councils to take this into account and emulate the Shah Alam example.

Educating the public

"The earth does not belong solely to humans and we should share it with animals," he said.

People should understand that dogs are not our enemies, he said on educating the public on how to live harmoniously with dogs and the community should understand and treat animals well.

NONE"This is an issue of civic consciousness and everyone should practise civility towards animals,"Liu added (right).

The relevant parties like NGOs, parents, teachers and local councils have the duty to cooperate and instill these values in children from young, he said.

Liu said that it is important for the whole community to cooperate, be it dogs' lovers or not.

"Nevertheless, it is the duty of the councillors to come up with guidelines and it is the duty of the community to follow them," he said.
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Anonymous said...

Why target dogs only? At the other end of the spectrum, someone I know is rearing at least 16 cats in their double-storey terrace corner house. The husband is a doctor. Cat-lovers? But pity the neighbours who have to bear the stench emanating from both the front and back of the house and the all too frequent litters of kittens in their compounds. For reasons best known to them, they have refused to neuter their cats. So, whither this problem?

Loyal Malaysian (From Malaysiakini)

Anonymous said...

When was this forum held? Why was there no publicity for it as i would have attended? I am an animal lover and have rescued many runaway and stray dogs in my area. There are a lot of stray cats in my area and I feed them otherwise they will go into peoples homes to steal food to survive. Something has to be done to stray cats as well. Perhaps the council can set up a centre and allocate a fairly big piece of land and build shelters for healthy strays prior to adoption? They can work hand in hand with PAWS, SPCA and other independent pet rescuers and like bodies. For funds the council can get corporations to contribute for the upkeep and maintenance. In fact the council should have a councillor-in-charge of this project. People will always appreciate Pakatan Government if it is also caring towards animals.

Thomas A Nathan (From Malaysiakini)

Anthony SB Thanasayan said...


Dogs were specifically targeted because the MBPJ Canine Advisory Team or CAT under the MBPJ wanted to address the issue of dogs being a nuisance to neighbours.

The Forum was meant to bring pet-lovers and non pet-lovers together for a fruitful session of awareness and dialogue.

The MBPJ does catch cats, like dogs, every month. We also plan to take more action against cats in the near future.

Anthony SB Thanasayan said...


The Dog Forum was held on Sunday, October 11th, a week after World Animal Day on October 4th.

Apart from several Chinese dailies and one Tamil newspaper, it was highlighted in The Star, The New Straits Times and The Malay Mail.

Buntings were also placed in strategic places in Petaling Jaya including at the MBPJ headquarters and the PJ Library where the event was held.

Nonetheless, we accept Mr Thomas criticisms that more publicity about the event could have been held. We will take this into consideration for our future forums.

Mr Thomas, I think you are doing a wonderful job in feeding the stray animals to keep them alive.

However, taking them to a veterinarian and having them spayed are also very useful and important things to do when caring for stray animals as well as surrendering them to animal shelters.

Your idea about setting up a centre or pound for adoption of unwanted animals is a very good one.

Currently, MBPJ is the only local council in Selangor - and probably in the country - which has a special committee on dogs called CAT (Canine Advisory Team).

Our group meets each month to discuss dogs as well as other animal issues.

The NGOs that are actively involved in CAT are registered organisations such as the Selangor SPCA, PAWS and Petpositive, including the Department of Veterinary Science (DVS) and other vets.

I as MBPJ Councillor am Chairman of this special canine committee.