LABUAN: Animal abuse cases shot up by 30% across the country from 510 in 2017 to 662 cases last year, says the Department of Veterinary Services.
The department’s director-general Datuk Dr Quaza Nizamuddin Hassan Nizam (pic) said statistics showed more than 90% of these cases involved dogs and followed by cats.
“The increase in the number of animal cruelty cases is mainly due to a rise in public awareness.
“From January to June this year, at least 190 cases were recorded with the fines imposed totalling RM12,500 from five cases brought to court, ” Dr Quaza Nizamuddin told a press conference after opening the Module of Early Education on Animal Care and Welfare at the Financial Park Complex yesterday.
Dr Quaza Nizamuddin added that the total fines on offenders last year was RM71,200, as compared to RM15,000 in 2017.
“The number of cases is quite worrying but it is due to public awareness of the need to address animal cruelty in the country, ” he said.
On the publication of the module, he said it was drawn up in collaboration with the Department of National Unity and Integration.
“This is the starting point for us to impart animal care, handling and welfare, and early education to children in the pre-schools, before extending it to primary and secondary schools as part of the co-curriculum, ” he said.
Dr Quaza Nizamuddin urged the people, regardless of race and religion, not to be cruel to animals as such acts could easily be captured via smartphones and viralled in social media.
“Receiving complaints furnished with video evidence could assist our investigations and to take action accordingly, ” he said.
Dr Quaza Nizamuddin also reminded the public of the deterrent sentence of up to 20 years’ jail and higher fines under the Animal Welfare Act 2015.
On animal-borne diseases, he said the department had classified rabies, especially in Sarawak, as still a menace to the public.
“We always prioritised preventive measures so that any outbreak anywhere in the country could be addressed effectively.
“As for the African swine fever, we must be fully prepared for a possible outbreak in our country, ” Dr Quaza Nizamuddin said, adding that preventive measures were being taken. — Bernama