Permanent, humane solutions needed for stray dog management, says Lee Lam Thye

PETALING JAYA: There is a need for permanent humane solutions instead of just catching and killing strays, says Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye.

The Selangor Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) patron said that a working committee must address the issue immediately.

Lee said that this must be given equal importance compared to other pressing issues in the nation.

"The state must intervene in this matter to ensure this never happens again. It is time we put a stop to the just-in-time measure of catching and killing strays. Let us be more holistic in our approach and find permanent humane solutions," he said.

His remarks came following an incident last week where dogs at the Kuala Langat Municipal Council (MPKL) dog pound were found starved and unattended for an extended period of time, of which 14 died after being rescued.

Lee also thanked Tengku Permaisuri Selangor Tengku Permaisuri Norashikin for highlighting the issue and coming up with credible suggestions

He added that he fully supports the suggestions of the Tengku Permaisuri.

"Tengku Permaisuri’s suggestions included a re-examination of the standard operating procedure of pound management, preservation of animal welfare via the Create Caring and Compassionate Communities (CCC) campaign,” said Lee.

He added that he supported the other suggestions of the Tengku Permaisuri; responsible pet ownership, scheduled periodic visits to animal shelters, and conduct trainings on neutering or spaying of animals as a joint effort between animal welfare officers and animal lovers.

Lee the said that there should be a nationwide campaign of spaying or neutering strays as soon as possible.

"Local authorities must work closely with animal NGOs (non-governmental organisations) and animal rescuers to make this happen. An unsterilised dog can produce up to 10,000 pups in five years. Cats can produce 300,000 offspring in five years," he said.

Lee added that Malaysia should draw examples from countries that have been successful in curbing strays such as the Netherlands, which is the world’s first country without stray dogs.

He said that this was accomplished with the CNVR program, a government-funded sterilisation initiative, adding that the World Animal Protection Agency has said that spaying and neutering is the best way to tackle strays.

"Another example is California, which was the pioneer in banning the retail sale of pets. In 2017, a law was passed, which took effect in 2019; under this law it is illegal for pet stores to sell live cats, dogs, or rabbits unless they came from a shelter or rescue," he said.

Lee said adopting strays could be another option but that the process of claiming a dog from the pound should not be tedious as the current practice involves several trips of going back and forth from the pound to the office.

He also said that people experienced in dealing with animals should be hired, adding that this must be coupled with a good track record of being good caretakers.

"Make animal pounds transparent. Ensure that the pounds are accessible to the public. Currently, pounds are operated behind closed doors, where management are not held accountable and people are often kept in the dark.

"By adapting transparency, it can be assured that these animals will be better taken care of," he said.

He also called for an investigation to be launched on those responsible for the Kuala Langat animal neglect case.

"These are people in power who are supposed to be responsible in their job, yet their action shows that there is some sort of sick mentality.

"Would we treat a fellow human being like that? Would you treat a defenseless creature to that extent?

"It is beyond words wondering how a human can go to such low levels.

"This case must be investigated where the culprits should never be put in a position of power to manage the welfare of animals," he said.

He added that abuse and cruelty towards animals was not new in Malaysia, and that while the Kuala Langat case was uncovered, there were many more which might still be in the dark.

He reiterated that the animal neglect issue warranted national attention as it involved innocent lives.

“A despicable act of cruelty involving 100 lives has been committed. We need to put a stop to such discrimination," he said.

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stray dogs , SPCA , Lee Lam Thye


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