Thursday, November 26, 2009

Good and bad news for animal-assisted therapy in Petaling Jaya


Advocates for Animal-Assisted Therapy received a huge boost on Wednesday, November 25 when it was announced that disabled residents in PJ will be allowed to obtain free dog licenses for their pets.

The move was announced at the monthly Full Board Meeting at the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) that was also attended by several members of the public.

Disabled residents will be obtain their yearly free dog licenses when they submit their disabled identifications by the Welfare Department.

"The decision is a very positive step forward by a local council," said Anthony Thanasayan, President of Petpositive to PET+BLOGSPOT. Anthony who is also a MBPJ Councillor has been pushing for the move since last year. 

"By offering the handicapped a waiver of dog licenses, the MBPJ is immediately legitimising all pet owners with disabilities who have been keeping dogs without a license," said Anthony.

With the free licenses, they will not have to live in fear anymore about their dogs being caught by the local authorities or them being fined, he explained.

"Furthermore the move by MBPJ to provide such an opportunity is a first and significant step in recognising the role of animal-assisted therapy in the lives of the handicapped for positive living," he concluded.

While the disabled received good news, there was dismal news for the elderly when the Council refused to give the same privilege to elderly pet owners.

The normally dull MBPJ meeting turned into a lively debate when licenses for the elderly were discussed. 

State Assemblyman for Damansara Utama in Selangor - and a trained psychiatrist - YB Dr Cheah Wing Yin also threw in his support for free dog licenses for the elderly community.

However his arguments were shot down ironically by three members of his own party the DAP at the meeting.

The matter was referred back to the subcommittee that brought up the issue for further debate on the matter - though several councillors opposed the idea if deliberating further on the issue.

Commenting on the topic after the meeting, Stanislaus Anthony, an elderly resident who attended the meeting said he was most disappointed with the decision on the elderly. 

"Why does a Council want to make money out of senior citizens?" he asked and concluded,"Where is the caring government that Pakatan promised?"     

PET+BLOGSPOT is the official online blog of the Malaysian Animal-Assisted Therapy for the Disabled and Elderly Association (Petpositive).

Our blog which was first established in October 2007 currently has more than 30,000 hits. Kindly take note that views expressed in this blog are not necessarily those of Petpositive.

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