Saturday, April 05, 2014

Shah Alam City Council Discriminating Against Dog Owners

Report from StarMetro today: 

PET owners in Shah Alam and several non-governmental organisations want the city council to review the requirement to get their immediate neighbours’ consent for getting dog licences.

They say it is unfair that their application for licences is not approved by the Shah Alam City Council (MBSA) simply because neighbours do not want to give consent.

A couple known only as Hong and Hui, have not been able to obtain licences for their Doberman and an adopted stray as they do not have the required consent because of a feud with their neighbour.
“MBSA officers threatened to take the dogs away, so we took the dogs to our factory site,” said Hui.

Hong is also puzzled by the requirement for the signature because their bungalow home was spacious.

Their house, he said, has a 10ft setback on both left and right as well as 15ft setback at the backyard.

“There is so much space.

“We do not even place the dogs near our objecting neighbour’s side.
“So why is it necessary for us to get permission from neighbours?” he asked.

Another pet lover, Daniel Lee said his friend who lived in a corner unit discovered that his neighbour had complained about his dog when he applied for a licence.

“My friend’s dog barks at cats running by.

“The council gave him a notice to remove the dog immediately,” he added.

Lee’s friend had to give the dog away and the money spent on a kennel at the house was wasted.

Lee, who lives in Petaling Jaya, added that the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) was more understanding to the plight of dog owners.

“They have celebrations such as the World Animal Day and take the effort to understand pet owners.

“People are a local council’s biggest asset, so listening to our voices will help go a long way,” he added.

Selangor president for the Malaysian Animal-Assisted Therapy for the Disabled and Elderly Association (Petpositive) Anthony Thanasayan said the ruling to get neighbour’s consent for dog licence started in 2005.

It sparked a protest by NGOs and animal lovers outside MBSA, following which the city council said it was only a procedure and would not determine the status of the application.

Anthony, who is a former MBPJ councillor, said all councils should investigate the legitimacy of people’s complaints against their neighbour’s dogs.

“Not approving applications upon receiving complaints is the easy way out and is not acceptable,” he said, adding that MBSA should focus on responsible pet ownership, monitoring the dogs and educating the owners.

Anthony also suggested that owners get relevant NGOs’ help to educate them on keeping pets to ensure they did not become a nuisance to the community and the neighbourhood.

Malaysian Animal Welfare Society president Shenaaz Khan said it was the right of every individual to own a pet.

She said the complaints were akin to giving an individual excess power over their neighbour.

“Is the council going to deny a disabled person his or her service dog because their neighbour lodged a complaint?” she added.

S. Gopalasingam, 81, from Section 2 Shah Alam has no problems getting licence for his dog every year because his neighbours are grateful for the dog’s presence as it deterred thieves and robbers.

MBSA deputy corporate communications director Shahrin Ahmad, however, said the consent was vital to preserve ties in the community.

“We want to ensure the peace and harmony in a neighbourhood is maintained at all times, hence the need to get your neighbour’s approval to own a dog,” he added.

Shahrin said if dog owners failed to get the signatures, they can submit an appeal letter to MBSA’s Licensing and Enforcement Department.
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