Strays deserve humane treatment

IN Turkey, stray dogs are treated very differently compared to in Malaysia.

There is a “no kill, no capture” policy, and the municipalities there are required to take care of the animals.

Some shops and malls even allow the animals indoors when the weather gets too cold.

In contrast, four dogs were recently shot dead by Kampar District Council enforcement officers during a dog catching operation.

The officers were said to have acted in “self defence”.

This is not the first time local councils’ enforcement officers have shot dead stray dogs.

Enforcement officers are often forced to take action following complaints from the public.

What is the solution to the issue of stray dogs in the community?

Let’s not forget that the animals’ plight was caused by selfish humans.

They are the main reason many dogs become strays and are left to fend for themselves in the first place.

They did not ask to be abandoned.

Nor did they ask to be taken to construction sites to become guard dogs, only to be abandoned again once the project is completed.

They are paying the price of our inhumanity.

Is it so hard to empathise with them?

It is only natural for all living beings to fight for survival.

They will not just lay down quietly to be captured.

Stray dogs are not usually aggressive, unless they feel threatened or are defending their young.

When humans approach them with weapons or nets, it is only natural that they will fight or take flight.

In response to public outcry over the incident, Kampar MCA Youth deputy chief Darren Chin had suggested that local councils allow animal welfare groups to deal with the matter first.

And in doing so, local authorities could learn more about stray dogs and their behaviour.

Many NGOs have also been actively pursuing the trap, neuter and release (TNR) method to control the stray dog population.

The Ipoh Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has even started tagging these dogs with microchips that contain information on their “guardians”.

The TNR method is also being used in many other countries, including Turkey, where the municipalities run the programme.

If Turkey can do it, why can’t Malaysia?

The TNR method, however, is quite costly and funding will be an issue.

This is where the Federal Government should step in, and provide an allocation for local councils to handle matters pertaining to strays.

Stray animals will remain an issue until a holistic solution is found.

Following the Kampar incident, its district council president Abdul Halim Saad said they would look into the root cause for the increase in the stray animal population.

Local councils should take note of Mahatma Gandhi’s words: “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

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