GEORGE TOWN: A pet owner will finally have his day in court after the High Court allowed him to sue the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) for alleged negligence, causing the death of his dog.
Judicial Commissioner Wong Hok Chong allowed the appeal and ordered the case to be tried.
“This matter ought to be decided at trial and cannot be dismissed summarily, ” he said in delivering his decision.
He ordered MBPP to pay RM4,000 in costs.
According to beachboy K. Chendeladevan’s statement of claim, MBPP had in bad faith taken his dog away at a public beach by force and later caused its death.
He also claimed the dog catchers had lied about the whereabouts of his dog, named Butcho, when he went to the dog pound to reclaim it.
This was after an officer claimed that the dog escaped from the lorry on its way to the pound. Later, a third-party informant told Chendeladevan that Butcho had died.
He is claiming for general, aggravated and exemplary damages and other relief deemed fit by the court. He is also demanding for Butcho’s remains to be returned to him.
Chendeladevan was represented by Marcia Lopez while Karin Lim appeared for MBPP.
On Feb 28,2018, MBPP’s dog catchers caught his 15-year-old dog at the Batu Ferringhi public beach, as part of an operation of rounding up strays following complaints of attacks by stray dogs.
Chendeladevan, in his court statement, claimed witnesses saw Butcho being dragged by the neck into a council lorry despite having a dog tag.
Mayor Datuk Yew Tung Seang had later said Butcho had died of old age and cardiac arrest.
He said the dog was regarded as a stray as it had no licence, and the council had every right to seize it.
An application for a dog licence was only made after the dog catching operations were carried out, he was quoted by Harian Metro as saying.
In a statement of defence in court, MBPP said the dog catchers had indeed shot Butcho with a tranquiliser as allowed under the law.
It said the dog had fled into the sea after it was shot, forcing dog catchers to wade into the sea to rescue it.
Later, Butcho was placed in a net and in a dog pound lorry, according to the council, denying that it had dragged the animal by its neck into the vehicle.
MBPP said it was alive and “dazed” when it was in the lorry, as per the account of dog catcher Wan Mohd Arif Hakimi Wan Deraman.
Arif had found Butcho to be “breathless” and “likely dead” in the lorry while the canine was on its way to the council dog pound in Sungai Pinang, the statement read.
The council claimed it sent Butcho’s remains to the Veterinary Services Department office in Bukit Mertajam.
It said when Chendeladevan came to reclaim the dog, Arif told him that Butcho had escaped en route to the dog pound, so as to calm him down at the pound’s office.
The MBPP also denied claims that a staff member at the pound had asked Chendeladevan to renew Butcho’s dog licence to reclaim the canine.