RESPONSIBLE pet owners who pick up their pets’ faeces when the animals defecate in public spaces are upset that others who do not do so are giving all of them and their pets a bad name.
They say irresponsible owners are not only polluting their surroundings but also causing the public to assume other owners are not cleaning up.
In Petaling Jaya, Taman Mayang Jaya resident Ngui Yuen Loong, 51, a member of animal lovers’ chat group My Dog’s World, said while many of his neighbours picked up pet poo in public places, there were some who were not as responsible.
“They walk their dogs without bringing wet wipes, plastic bags or a scooper.
“When reprimanded, they say, ‘the rain will wash the poo away’ or ‘other people are also doing the same’.”
Former SS20 Rukun Tetangga (RT) chairman Eileen Thong, 77, who raised the issue in a WhatsApp chat group, said it was the general consensus that all pet owners were at fault.
“There are some owners who let their dogs or cats roam freely. Naturally, the animals will poo, urinate or vomit all over the place, including on the grass by the roadside, playing fields and outside homes of other residents.
“The safety of free-roaming animals are also at risk as they could get run over by motor vehicles, which can be very heartbreaking for any animal lover to witness.”
In Cheras, Selangor, Venice Hill Condominium resident Sasikala Mathavan, 59, said she was angered and disappointed by pet owners in her community who failed to pick up after their pets. Describing Venice Hill as a pet-friendly community, Sasikala said,“Signboards reminding pet owners to pick up after their pets have been placed at the playgrounds and open grassy areas since 1995.
“The management committee even imposes RM200 fine for offenders caught by security guards. Yet, there are pet owners who choose to ignore the reminders.”
An animal lover herself, the retired pharmacy manager said owners must remember that pet faeces might contain parasites that could cause diseases.
When pet waste is left at the playgrounds and open grassy areas, children and senior citizens with poorer immune system, are vulnerable to contracting diseases.
“I once had to alert an old couple, who liked to walk barefoot at a grassy area, that it was the spot for dogs to poo and the owner does not pick the faeces – I never saw them again,” said Sasikala.
Her son, Vinod Greig, 35, who often walked the family’s dwarf Labrador, often stepped on animal poo along the condominium walkways.
“While the poo can be rubbed off the soles of the shoes, the unpleasant smell will still follow you home.”
Of late, however, Vinod said such occurrences had been reduced following the installation of lights along the walkways. Taking action together.
In Kuala Lumpur, Bukit Bandaraya Residents Association (BBRA) president Charles Tan, 62, said it was not uncommon for some pet owners to walk their pets at night or in the wee morning hours to evade detection when they allowed their pets to leave piles in front of residents’ gates.
While folk expect their residents associations or local authorities to take action against offenders, Tan said better outcomes could be achieved by adopting a proactive stance.
“The best way to tackle the issue would be to inform pet owners directly in a polite, courteous manner.
“If you see a pet owner or a housekeeper walking their dog, just politely remind him or her to pick the poo up with a plastic bag and throw it into the bin.
“Most will comply if they realise they are being watched.
“In short, moral pressure is needed to get the message across.”
In 2017, there was a motion from the association’s committee for individual road representatives to set up “Anti-Dog Poo Squads”.
After some monitoring, it was found that canines and felines weren’t the only offenders as there were droppings from pigeons that were attracted to grains and seeds scattered by residents.
“Sometimes, pet owners do not walk their pets. They leave the job to housekeepers, who may not have been instructed to clean up after the animal.
“Owners whose cats are left to roam without supervision are also at fault when the felines poo at neighbours’ homes. As the smell of cat poo is quite strong, it can cause friction among neighbours.
“Contributing to this problem are stray animals,” Tan said. Social responsibility
Taman Yarl Residents Association (TYRA) president Datuk Rabinder Singh, 47, said picking up after one’s pets was a social responsibility.
“Just like one has to file taxes and take out the garbage, picking up a pet’s poo is common courtesy.”
In a bid to spread awareness among Taman Yarl pet owners on the importance of cleaning up after their pets as consideration to other residents, six signboards were erected at strategic spots around the neighbourhood over a year ago.
TYRA environment committee chairman Alex Rajakumar, 73, who had the signage put up following a slew of complaints, said neighbourhood roads were common spaces and it was not nice to allow one’s pet defecate in a public area without cleaning up.
Taman Yarl Rukun Tetangga chairman K. Balarandran, 77, said many of the housing area residents were retired and educated government staff who should have the awareness to clean up after their pets.
At Bukit OUG Condominium in Kuala Lumpur, residents association chairman Richard Gascoigne, 82, said the community had an issue with stray cats six years ago.
“Many cats urinated and defecated in random spots. They also climbed on cars, scratching the finish.”
Following residents’ complaints, a “cat club” was formed.
“Four or five members actively managed the feral cats, ensuring that they were vaccinated, neutered, fed and housed.
Other members set up feeding stations at remote locations, ensuring that most cats were constrained within an area.
“There is a large enclosure of about 92.9sqm. There are litter-boxes, climbing features and a shelter.
“There are usually some two dozen cats in residence, with newcomers in a special quarantine area. Adoptions are encouraged.
“That way, the issue was resolved satisfactorily.”
As for the 20 or 30 dogs owned by residents, complaints of droppings left in public areas were rare, said Gascoigne.
“We foresee that with continuous education, the current situation will persist, to everyone’s benefit.”
Asther Lau, 45, is president of Animal Kindness Coalition, a non-governmental organisation that champions “trap, neuter and release” programmes for strays.
She said to effectively address the issue, it was crucial to understand why some dog owners don’t pick up after their pets.
“Some individuals may hold the outdated belief that they are exempt from the responsibility of cleaning up organic waste in public areas.
“There’s also the misconception that pet waste disintegrates rapidly, which is not the case, especially in urban environments.”
Signage and community engagement were two ways to address the problem effectively, she said.
“Residents associations can organise friendly dialogues and events.
“For instance, hosting a ‘Pet Owners Day Out’ could bring owners together to share experiences and brainstorm solutions towards coexisting harmoniously.
“Another way is for responsible pet owners to lead by example by cleaning up after their pets when they’re out for walks.”
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals general manager Kevin Cheah said pet owners should attend classes on animal handling, which also covered responsible ownership.
Fines up to RM2,000
Under Local Government Act 1976, when a pet defecates in a public place or at premises other than that occupied by the owner, the owner must remove the faeces immediately for proper disposal.
The owner is also duty-bound to dispose of the waste in a matter that doesn’t cause offence or is a nuisance to other persons.
Anyone who fails to comply shall be guilty of an offence and be liable to a fine not exceeding RM2,000 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding one year or both.
Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) and Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) confirmed that to date, no compounds had been issued to pet owners for letting their animals defecate in public places.
According to DBKL, within the past five years, its Pest Control Unit received 4,742 complaints for dogs and 1,022 for cats for disrupting the peace as well as soiling the environment.
DBKL’s media unit said in a statement that compounding pet owners for failing to pick up after their animals would be a challenge to the enforcement team.
“Without actual monitoring, it is impossible to positively identify which animal is guilty of the deed.”
However, DBKL will accept CCTV footage and videos via email and its online complaint channels.
Complaints can be sent to email@example.com or visit adukl.dbkl.gov.my
Those living in Petaling Jaya can call MBPJ’s 24-hour hotline 03-7954 2020, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit eaduan.mbpj.gov.my