INSTEAD of a brief visit to the vet, more owners are using the the doctor’s clinic as a place to dump their unwanted pets.
StarMetro spoke to three vets in the Klang Valley on the common reasons behind pet dumping at their premises and how they have chosen to curb it.
Drawing from her own experiences, veterinarian of nine years Dr Mellissa Noraini Amiruddin said the dumping of pets stemmed from various reasons.
The veterinary clinic in Taman Melawati has taken in a dog that was underfed and was possibly abused as it displays trauma behaviour.
“Last month, a man walked into my clinic with a Siamese cat in a cage and rushed out, saying he was looking for parking and would return. But he did not come back for his cat.
“A few days later, three house cats were dumped at a restaurant next door.
“There were also cases of people in relationships getting a pet with their significant other, but when the relationship did not work out, they gave up on the pet,” she said.
Dr Mellissa said she had spayed and neutered the animals with hopes of finding them a new home but there were times she had to release them to the streets as she did not have space in her clinic in Petaling Jaya.
Vets say that when pets are not neutered and they reproduce, some owners find it difficult to care for the offspring and therefore abandon them.
Although she understands that some owners have financial difficulties or develop allergies towards the animals, she thinks they should at least find a new home for their pets instead of abandoning them.
“It is important for pet owners to understand what they are getting themselves into.
“Excluding veterinary bills, on average, it would roughly cost RM150 a month to keep a cat or a small dog and RM300 and above to keep a large dog.
“Sometimes, people buy special breeds without realising that these breeds have specialised needs and can be fussy eaters or are not compatible with their characters.
Stray and abandoned dogs that were once treated but released because of a lack of space still loiter around Dr Mellissa‘s clinic.
“When a new pet or stray is brought to me, I always ask the owners what their plan is for their pet and explain to them their pets’ needs in terms of healthcare and follow-up treatment.
“We also secure a deposit from the owner and we get all new owners to fill up forms with all their information so we can track them down if the need arises,” she said.
The Subang Jaya Municipal Council pound not only houses strays that are caught but also abandoned pets.
The council’s corporate and strategy management deputy director Azfarizal Abdul Rashid said pet owners who could no longer care for their pets have given them up to them.
“We advertise to get the dogs adopted, otherwise they will be left at the pound,” he said.
Dr Mellissa spays and neuters the animals that are abandoned at her clinic in Petaling Jaya before trying to get them rehomed.
Having an animal clinic in Subang Jaya for 15 years, Dr M. Vijayndra and his staff not only get abandoned pets but also animal carcasses dumped at his doorstep.
“Pets with chronic diseases such as skin disease and cancer are the most commonly abandoned, because some owners are unwilling or unable to pay for the treatment.
“Shih-tzus are also very commonly abandoned because they can easily have skin problems and it is costly to maintain them.
“When a pet dies, it is also costly to dispose of them and that is why we have had cases of people dumping their dead animals at our doorstep,” he said.
The veterinary clinic in Taman Melawati often has a lot of kittens abandoned at its doorstep.
After a severely ill golden retriever was abandoned at the clinic two years ago, Dr Vijayndra and his staff decided to be firm with negligent owners to curb pet dumping at his premises.
“When some pets are required to stay at the clinic overnight for post-operative care, we make it very clear to the owner that if they do not collect the pet after one week, the pet will be put to sleep.
“We also have a sign on our shutters stating that discarded pets will be disposed of as rubbish.
“As much as possible, we work with rescuers to rehome these pets, but in many cases, the dumped pets have severe illnesses and are forced to be put to sleep as there is no one to look after them throughout their continuous treatment,” he said, adding that it was the best option.
On a weekly basis, litters of kittens are dumped at the entrance of a veterinary clinic in Taman Melawati, Kuala Lumpur.
The veterinary clinic in Subang Jaya has resorted to leaving a message on its shutters telling the public not to leave any pets or carcasses at the door step.
The vet, who declined to be named, had even resorted to adopting few of the abandoned pets on his own.
“I have eight abandoned animals at the clinic and I will adopt an abandoned dog that has been at the clinic for months now. Some are also adopted by my staff.
“There are also walk-in clients who choose to adopt these animals,” he said.
He added that many pets get dumped because they have not been neutered and the owner is unable to care for them when they reproduce.
Veterinarian Dr Mellissa Noraini Amiruddin is caring for a Pomeranian that was badly abused by its owner.
“In some countries, licence for dogs are waived or reduced if the animal is spayed or neutered; this is a good incentive to get people to sterilise their pet.
“There should also be some form of law or punishment, as only then will people stop.
“Another way is to place microchips on pets, where details of the animal and owner is put into a database,” he said, adding that such database was not yet available in Malaysia.
Using database to track pet owners