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Authorities question mode of transporting runaway ostrich

KUALA LUMPUR: After the hullabaloo over runaway ostrich Chickaboo, the authorities are now asking how the big bird got onto the busy Federal Highway in the first place.

A spokesman for the Department of Veterinary Services questioned Chickaboo’s owner, who was reportedly transporting it in the back seat of his Toyota Hilux when it jumped out of an open window and dashed down the highway, saying that the mode of transport was unsuitable for an ostrich.

“A Toyota Hilux is totally not suitable for the transportation of animals,” said the spokesman.

Pointing to Section 24 of the Animal Welfare Act 2015, the department said owners of animals must ensure that all the needs of their animals were fulfilled, including the need for them to be in a proper environment and free from pain, suffering, injury or disease.

“A car that small is not appropriate for transporting an ostrich.

“It could jump out and it did. Maybe the owner should have put it in a covered lorry,” said the spokesman.

Under the Act, owners who flout that law are liable to a maximum RM15,000 fine or a two-year jail sentence or both.

But these laws are yet to be enforced as the stipulations under them are still not sufficiently defined.

The department said it was in the midst of drafting regulations on the transportation of animals, which must take into account the space specifications of the vehicle the animal is in and the mode of transport itself.

The regulations are expected to be introduced mid-2017.

The six-month-old Chickaboo became a social media celebrity on Thursday after it sprinted down Malaysia’s oldest highway.

It was unhurt in the incident which went viral online.

The ostrich was being ferried by its owner Darren Chow, 44, from his property in Petaling Jaya to the Semenyih farm he had bought the bird from, as it had grown too big for him to handle.

Ostrich Wonderland owner Casey Tey said that Chow also stayed for a while with Chickaboo on Thursday night as he was concerned about how it would adapt to its new home in the farm.

“Chow admitted that he had made a mistake for not taking enough precaution when transporting Chickaboo and was extremely worried about the animal,” Tey said.

Related story:

Runaway Chickaboo settling well in new home

Chickaboo , OStrich