Tuesday, June 10, 2014

End Cruelty Through Responsible Pet Education

MALAYSIAKINI 3:18PM Jun 10, 2014

End cruelty through responsible pet education

Petpositive - the Malaysian Animal-Assisted Therapy for the Disabled and Elderly Association - is most appalled and outraged over last week’s bludgeoning to death of stray dogs with metal rods by enforcement officers from the Johor Baru Central Municipal Council (MPJBT). (Killing of dogs a mistake, council accepts responsibility, The Star, June 8, 2014.)
It is most unthinkable and painful for any loving and caring Malaysian in this day and age to comprehend or accept the fact that such a brutal and barbaric act is still being deployed on defenceless animals by and in our society.

And what more when such despicable evil is practised by a local

Although we welcome the fact that MPJBT quickly took responsibility for such cruelty, we feel terribly uneasy about the fact that it took an expose from an amateur’s camera to uncover this cruel practice which has obviously been going on silently away from the public eye.

MPJBT should leave no stone unturned in its own investigation of the matter. Whoever is responsible must be brought to book, even if he is a higher-up.    

The Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) should also conduct a thorough investigation as what happened to the canines is clearly an act torture and cruelty.

MPJBT must set up a pound for strays. Unwanted animals caught off the streets should be housed for at least a week for owners of lost dogs and cats to claim them after paying their fines for being irresponsible owners.

Sick dogs should be put down immediately and humanely only by a qualified veterinarian or a vet-trained officer.

Dogs that are healthy should be given a chance to be re homed at the pound before it is finally decided to put them down.

Councils must start budgeting for a pound and euthanasia medication. Ideally all pounds should employ a veterinarian to look into these matters.

If they can’t start out immediately with one, they should work together with the DVS for all their standard operating procedures when it comes to managing animals.

Councils that are smart will set up regular meetings on stray management. It should include all the relevant departments within the council, the DVS and local animal welfare NGOs for ideas.

For a more holistic approach, all local councils should conduct campaigns on responsible pet ownership among pet owners. This should include seminars, awards for best dogs and owners, pet training and spaying programmes involving local veterinarians and the DVS to effectively reduce stray populations.

Two good local councils with all these experiences are the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) and the Klang Municipality (MPK).       

If all these are not followed through, just finding the culprits and punishing them will only end up as nothing but a knee jerk reaction.

ANTHONY SB THANASAYAN is president, Petpositive.

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