Biting harder against animal abusers

PUTRAJAYA: The dogs were butchered, poisoned and burnt. And the news ignited public fury and concern for man’s furry friends.

The two separate cases of alleged animal cruelty – in Lavender Heights, Seremban, and Selayang, Selangor – are still being investigated.

But for now, more animal abusers are being brought to court, thanks to stronger enforcement under the Animal Welfare Act.

Thirteen people were convicted for abusing animals last year – an increase from just four in 2017 and five in 2016, said the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS).

Animal cruelty complaints made to the DVS also shot up by 30% from 510 cases in 2017 to 662 last year.

“This means people are becoming more aware of animal welfare and are reporting cases of abuse to us for further action.

“We have also increased our number of enforcement operations from 5,618 in 2017 to 5,758 last year.

“This includes measures like checking pet shops to ensure the welfare of the animals,” DVS director-general Datuk Dr Quaza Nizamuddin Hassan Nizam (pic) told The Star.

Because of the harsher penalties carried by the Animal Welfare Act, enforced in July 2017, the perpetrators have been punished with heftier fines and jail time.

Dr Quaza Nizamud­din said the total amount of fines imposed in 2018 had increased to RM71,800 from RM15,000 in 2017.

“The enforcement of the Act is progressing well and we are constantly improving.

“Still, a lot of animal cruelty cases involved domesticated, companion animals like dogs and cats. Not so much on livestock,” he said.

Under the Act, those who abuse animals will face a fine of between RM20,000 and RM100,000, a maximum jail term of three years, or both.

This is a big change compared to its predecessor, the Animals Act, which punished animal abusers with a maximum fine of RM50,000, one year in jail, or both.

Early this month, five dogs were found dead after they were allegedly poisoned in Lavender Heights, Seremban.

A few days later, about nine dogs and puppies were found grisly butchered or burnt in Selayang, with some having their legs and body chopped off.

Dr Quaza Nizamuddin said the DVS was waiting for results from the Department of Chemistry on both cases.

Assuring the public that the DVS is committed to ensuring animal welfare, he said any cases of animal abuse would be investigated and those responsible would be charged.

“Animal cruelty is something we take very seriously.

“The perpetrator who killed the cat in the launderette was jailed for two years even though he pleaded guilty.

“There’s another case in Kuantan where a man was jailed for a year for hitting a dog.

“As you can see, the message is: do not abuse animals.

“If you do, the penalties are severe,” he said.

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