Group making sure strays in JB are fed

Helping hands: Members of the group feeding the stray dogs in Johor Baru.

PETALING JAYA: Almost every week, a group of people gather in the heart of Johor Baru city on a noble mission: to feed the dozens of hungry stray dogs loitering in the streets and housing estates, scavenging for food.

The group of about 15 is led by two friends – university student Hariharan Manivannan, 25, and lab assistant Arun Visvanathan, 29.

Hariharan said his mother encouraged him to care for stray animals from a young age, and he has expanded that call to action with the help of family and friends.

The group meets up every Friday or Saturday before proceeding to cook food to feed stray dogs in multiple areas around Johor Baru, including Bandar Baru Kota Puteri, Permas Jaya, Bandar Seri Alam, Masai and Taman Johor Jaya.

“We have been doing this since early this year and this exercise has started to increase due to the number of strays.

“As such, we need between RM350 and RM500 per week to ensure the stray dogs receive nutritious meals,” he said in an interview.

Hariharan said they would take turns to cook and serve the meals.

“As an animal lover, I believe we should do what we can to take care of strays.

“The sight of stray animals loitering around is pitiful as they are left to fend for themselves, come rain or shine.

“They are living beings too and deserve to be given food and water,” he said.

The group funds its weekly feedings through donations collected via social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.

Hariharan said they have also created a Google Form to facilitate contributions, with occasional donations of between RM50 and RM150 from some Good Samaritans.

“When sufficient funds are available, we are able to serve them meals comprising rice, chicken and vegetables.

“If we are short of money, then we make do with canned dog food and biscuits,” he said.

During really dire days, Hariharan said they would have no choice but to postpone the feeding exercise to the following week.

On feeding days, he said the team would start cooking early in the day and spend about four to five hours to locate and feed 50 to 100 dogs until midnight.They are led by Hariharan (top) and Arun.They are led by Hariharan (top) and Arun.

To maintain cleanliness, Hariharan said they would use banana leaves and clean up the areas thoroughly after the strays finish eating.

“It is also our responsibility not to dirty the surroundings and collect all the rubbish after each feeding exercise before moving to the next feeding spot,” he said.

Hariharan said to avoid any inconvenience or issue with residents, they would gather the dogs in areas away from residential zones.

So far, he said, their approach has been well received by the community and they have not faced any problems with the public or the authorities.

Due to his studies, Hariharan said he is unable to participate every week.

“But I am committed to this cause and will continue with this for the rest of my life.

“Maybe in future, I will set up an animal shelter and provide treatment for strays with illnesses,” he said.

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