I REFER to the reports “MCA: Does council have licence to kill?” (The Star, May 25) and “Animal welfare groups hold demo in Ipoh” (May 27) on the response of several animal welfare groups and MCA to the wilful killing of a stray dog, and also the suggestion that the Ipoh City Council should control the stray dog population by neutering them.
Such complaints and protests by animal lovers have been highlighted in the media for many years but the problem still persists.
Meanwhile, all appeals to stop the killing and suggestions to find more humane ways of controlling the problem have fallen on deaf ears.
I have seen dogs being shot or killed by lethal injection since the 1950s! Have the authorities succeeded in controlling the problem? No, and they never will.
I have taken up the issue by writing to newspapers and speaking to my previous state assemblyman, and recently brought it up with
my MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman. Both representatives say they have discussed the issue with the authorities, but nothing has improved.
The councils will quote their by-laws to justify the killing even though these contravene the Animal Abuse Act 2015, which does not allow the killing of dogs unless there is an outbreak of rabies. And that too, if I am not wrong, is done on the orders of the state veterinary director.
There is a more humane method practised by several countries. Set up animal shelters for these dogs and get them neutered. It has been proven that it will take just five years to solve the problem with this method. One reason raised was the cost. But the killing of dogs, which involves bullets, burial and manpower, costs money too.
However, the killing of dogs is not the only problem faced by animal lovers. In my home town, it is almost impossible to take our dogs for a walk unless it’s along the main roads. A signboard at the Muar riverside forbids dog owners from taking their canine pets, even if they are on a leash, for a walk in the park or public place. The “offence” is punishable with a RM500 fine or six months’ jail.
Why is there such prejudice against dogs and their owners? The least the council could do is to provide a closed area for owners to walk their dogs. At present, the dogs have to be kept in the vicinity of our homes. It’s indeed a dog’s life for both the dogs and their owners.