Thursday, November 25, 2010

LIFE is a sure great teacher; whether you are able-bodied or a person with a disability.

My adventure last week proved to be a perfect example of this.

Many of you would have heard by now of the fantastic news that is still causing waves of celebration among animal lovers to ripple in and outside the city of Ipoh.

The local council there (MBI) decided to ban the shooting of dogs – pronto!

Internet file pix
This was especially after a therapy dog named Spunk belonging to a retired senior woman had been shot dead by mistake.

The lady – and her dog – were members of Petpositive, a national animal-assisted therapy society in which I serve as president.  

I was privileged to be among the local animal welfare groups that met up with MBI officials on the 16th of this month, where the banning was subsequently declared.

Of course, prior to the event, none of us knew what the outcome would turn out to be.

However, my NGO and others in Ipoh felt strongly that our mission was to meet up with the council as quickly as possible to try and change their minds about the shooting.

Selangor State Exco Dr Xavier in MBPJ CAT programme
A major part of my personal motivation was in my own involvement in two canine committees with the local council in Selangor. They are the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) and the Klang Municipal Council (MPK).

Each month, I play the role of chairman to the monthly Canine Advisory Team (CAT) meetings in PJ and Klang.

All the relevant bodies in the government related to animals attend our meetings together with a local representative from the department of veterinary services.

Reps from various animal welfare and rights NGOs also participate with their ideas in our CAT meetings.

CAT animal welfare check at Selayang pound
In MBPJ’s CAT meetings, we go one step further by inviting all the local councils in Selangor that deal with dogs to our meetings.

Over the weeks and months, we’ve learnt that the various participation from all sides have only significantly strengthened us as a group in coming up with the best decisions, actions and solutions when dealing with issues of complaints from the general public regarding dogs and cats in general.

In most cases we’ve discovered that it is never the dogs, cats (or even rats) fault when they pose a problem to our society.

MBPJ/MPK Humane Dog Catching Training with CAT
Instead it is our irresponsible behaviour as human beings that causes and exacerbates a problem such as abandoning our pets or encouraging them to mess up other peoples’ homes by running out of our gates unattended or throwing rubbish indiscriminately and creating a never ending food source for rats to breed.

As an effective strategy, we have since moved towards engaging in more educational programmes for pet owners with the full realisation that just because someone has a pet, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she knows how to look after them.

This was the main message that we managed to thrust to the top brass of the MBI through our memorandum and discussion.

CAT awareness to public through media
We pointed out to the MBI that the elderly woman with her Spunk was in actual effect an exemplary resident of the city. She would never fail to renew her dog licence each year and always pick up after her dog during their walks.

“The MBI should have given her an award for her responsible act and used her example to serve as an inspiration to all other pet owners,” we said.

On their part, the MBI graciously admitted their serious error in allowing Spunk to become a casualty.

They even went as far as to say that a representative would visit Spunk’s owner to offer their sincerest regret and condolences.

Victory at last in Ipoh - no canine shooting
“Spunk has taught us all a sober lesson,” said a top brass from the MBI during an emotional moment before announcing the immediate end to dog-shooting.

He also promised to get a monthly canine committee going; much like CAT, and would look into spaying strays as well as setting up a dog-pound as soon as possible in Ipoh.  

Let’s hope that when this new canine committee gets off the ground (it was announced that the first meeting will be held before the end of the year) they will also look into giving free dog licenses for the disabled and reduced rates for the elderly just like in MBPJ and the Shah Alam City Council.

In view of what had happened to Spunk, all local councils should also consider issuing special tags and licenses for therapy and service animals to indicate that they should not be caught by the dogcatchers.

CAT awareness at UPM
Or if they are, they should be returned to the owners at once.

This is chiefly because of the indispensable and unique role that these special animals play in the lives of their disabled and elderly owners.    

Despite the many cases of cruelty and harsh treatment of pets in our society, it is most heartening to witness that at least some local councils are starting to move in the right direction by choosing a more matured, caring and effective response when comes to dealing with animal issues in the country.

Syabas MBI and all!                   

The End

PET+BLOGSPOT is the ONLINE BLOG of the Malaysian Animal-Assisted Therapy for the Disabled and Elderly Association (Petpositive). Our reports and stories are CURRENT, ACCURATE and RELIABLE. We offer both local and foreign news on animals, disability and the elderly. PET+BLOGSPOT was first established in October 2007. Our hits since then is now 70,000 and going strong! PET+BLOGSPOT is updated daily. Sometimes even twice or three times a day. Kindly take note that views expressed in this blog are not necessarily those of PETPOSITIVE. You may also visit our Webpage by browsing: You can also find us in Facebook as PETPOSITIVE EMPOWERMENT. Please sign up as a FOLLOWER of this Blog if you haven't done so already in order to show us your kind support. Thank you!

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