ANIMAL welfare groups in Ipoh eagerly welcome the move by the government to enforce the pet abandonment law.
Ipoh Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals president Ricky Soong said although the law was long overdue, it was definitely a good start.
He said pet abandonment occurred when people adopt or buy pets without any planning.
“After a while, the owners might start to dislike the pet or get tired of it and eventually, they would find ways to abandon it.
“It is time the law is enforced but there must be efforts to locate the owners as well,” he said.
Soong was responding to a recent statement by Veterinary Services Department director- general Datuk Dr Norlizan Mohd Noor, which indicated that the department would soon be enforcing regulations of the 2021-2030 National Animal Welfare Strategic Plan, including one related to pet or animal abandonment.
Dr Norlizan had said that the Animal Welfare Code of Practice introduced earlier was not legally binding and merely served as a guide, and therefore action could not be taken on breaches.
“Now, however, court action can be taken against pet owners for neglect or abandonment, and we can take legal action if someone lodges a complaint (against the owners),” he said.
Soong said one way for owners to be identified was to make the use of microchip mandatory.
Citing an example, Soong said he recently found a dog abandoned in the Ipoh Garden area.
However, he could not locate the owner because there was no marking or number tag on the dog.
“So, it is impossible for us to know where the dog came from.
“While the law on pet abandonment is timely, we need to ensure the owners are located,” he added.
PapanSouls founder and president S. Keshturi welcomed the enforcement of the pet abandonment law.
She said PapanSouls focused on rescuing strays at the Papan landfill.
“Not only do local councils release strays at the landfill, pet owners are doing the same.
“Dogs are found healthy, clean and come with nice collars.
“Because pet dogs don’t know how to fend for themselves, are not streetwise and too docile, they become so skinny and eventually die of starvation or illness within a few months if they are not rescued.
“Some of them get knocked down by speeding trucks,” she said.
Keshturi added that many strays had owners before.
Often, she said, the dogs were not neutered and that heavily pregnant dogs at the landfill were lost and clueless.
She said owners dumped their pets because it was no longer cute, or barked a lot.
“There are never bad dogs, only bad owners.
“Dogs will listen to you when you spend enough time with them.
“Owners must not give up on them so easily.”
Keshturi, however, said before the law could be enforced, there was a need to find a way to identify pet owners as not all pets were microchipped nor wore collars with licence.