Beloved pets now a burden to some

The end of the MCO in Malaysia has led to an increase in number of people abandoning their pets.

Wani Muthiah and Gerard Gimino

Wani Muthiah and Gerard Gimino

The Star


Animal cruelty: Animal shelters say they are receiving 20 to 30 pets a week that have been abandoned. These pets are either old and sickly or discarded by owners who no longer have time to care for them.

May 18, 2022

KUALA LUMPUR –  The end of the movement control order (MCO) has not been good for pets – many people who are returning to work are abandoning the animals.

Many have sent their pets to shelters or worse, just dumped them.

Most of those who forsook their pets say their workload has increased or they have new jobs, leaving them with little time to care for the pets.

“We receive about 20 to 30 pets, mostly dogs, every week. Although some of those who bring them in claim they found the animal by the roadside, we can tell that it is their pet,’’ said Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) kennel manager Edward Lim.

He said those who admitted it was their pet cited work commitments, lack of time and ill health as reasons for giving up the animals.

Some of the young and healthy pets are accepted into the shelter but those above the age of five are euthanised.

“We don’t like the fate that befalls these unfortunate pets,” said Lim.

He said that Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) director-general Datuk Dr Norlizan Mohd Noor’s recent statement that stiffer laws await pet dumpers was timely.

“We are happy the DVS will enforce regulations to punish irresponsible owners who dump their pets,’’ said Lim.

He added that at least several of the 20 to 25 dogs sent to the shelter by the Petaling Jaya City Hall (MBPJ) and Shah Alam City Hall (MBSA) were also pets.

“We can tell they are pets. They are easy to approach and are friendly as opposed to feral dogs that are fearful of humans,’’ said Lim.

Dr Norlizan had said some provisions in the 2021-2030 National Animal Welfare Strategic Plan (NAWSP 2021-2030) would be enforced to deal with pet and animal abandonment.

He said the current Animal Welfare Code of Practice (KAKH) did not have legal provisions to punish those who abandon pets.

“With the regulations in force, we can take legal action against people who neglect or dump pets,” Dr Norlizan had said.

DVS head of Animal Welfare section Dr Marzuna Md Yunus said the Animal Welfare Act 2015 could not be fully enforced as relevant regulations and code of ethics were yet to be enacted or developed.

“Therefore, the NAWSP 2021-2030 was launched this year to strengthen the enforcement of the Act and other relevant legislation,’’ she added.

The regulations and code of ethics would not only focus on punishing culprits but also to advise and educate them that acts of animal cruelty such as pet abandonment was unacceptable.

Apart from that, an SOP will also be drawn up to enable the government to enforce the collection of compounds from any party who violates specific provisions, including pet abandonment, she added.

“We are expecting all the necessary SOPs and enactments to be ready by the end of the year,’’ she said.

Animal rescuer and activist Paul Lin Long, who volunteers with a Selangor-based animal welfare group, said some irresponsible owners were also known to dump their old and sick pets on the streets.

She said she had rescued many dogs that were old and could hardly move as they had advanced stage cancer.

“Most of them are pedigrees,’’ said Long.

She said cats generally wandered off from the spot where they are dumped, but dogs have been known to wait at the same spot for their owners for days and even weeks until they are removed.

“Sometimes irresponsible owners do not spay their cats or dogs and when these animals become pregnant, they are abandoned at food courts and shops,’’ said Long.

Long added that she has rescued or seen many of these pets being knocked down by cars or motorbikes, ending up with serious injuries or dead.

“I am very happy that the DVS is going to ensure that these cruel pet owners will be punished for what they have done,’’ she said.

She added that wrongdoers must be dragged to court instead of being allowed to get away with a mere warning or a small compound.

“If these people escape with a slap on the wrist, it is a great disservice to the many animal activists and rescuers who give all their time, money and resources picking up these abandoned animals and taking care of them,” she said.

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