What local councils do to stray animals

If psychopathic corporations can be treated as separate legal personalities, why not real living beings? / Image of Bela the Cat and Shimi the Dog by lilyr

If you’ve ever visited the Gerbang Mesra Selangor (Selangor Friendly Gateway) website, you’ll learn why our local councils treat stray animals, specifically dogs, the way they do.

Here are some excerpts of their rules and regulations for dogs:

“All dogs over 3 months old that do not have a valid badge will be destroyed.”

“If your dog is found wandering without a license or without supervision, your dog will be seized and destroyed.”

“Dogs must be chained to (sic) their necks before taking them for walks.”

“If authorities are running a campaign to destroy strays / wild dogs, do not provide protection to those dogs.”

“Any dog found straying in public areas, whether if it is wearing a badge or not, will be caught by the Majlis Perbandaran (sic) Petaling Jaya (MPPJ).”

The word “destroy” is used repeatedly throughout the article instead of ‘kill’, which assumes these dogs are considered chattel or objects, denying them our recognition as living, sentient beings.

One would expect a more humane approach in dealing with stray animals from a public agency. But even if a sense of respect for animals is considered mere sentimentality, perhaps a little consideration to their suffering would not be too much to ask?

One wonders from where we, and our government officials, have acquired our destructive tendencies; given the increasingly religious flavour of Malaysian public life, you would expect a kinder, gentler society instead.

But let’s look at an alternative approach to the MPPJ rules, above:

“All dogs over 3 months old that do not have a valid badge will be sent to an animal shelter to be spayed / neutered and re-homed through an adoption drive.”

“If your dog is found wandering without a license or without supervision, your dog may be sent to an animal shelter to be spayed / neutered and re-homed through an adoption drive.”

“Dogs should have a leash to their necks before being taken for walks. All kinds of chains, especially choke-chains, should not be used as these can injure the animal.”

“If authorities are running a campaign to sent dogs to an animal shelter in order to be spayed / neutered and re-homed through an adoption drive, you can either inform the authorities that you wish to adopt the dogs or help the authorities in their work.”

“Any dog found straying in public areas, regardless if it is wearing a badge or not, will be sent to an animal shelter to be spayed / neutered and re-homed through an adoption drive by the Majlis Perbandaran Petaling Jaya (MPPJ) or assigned animal shelter.”

“In the event if there are too many dogs that people do not want to adopt or provide a home for, as a last resort, they will be humanely euthanised at the shelter.”

Now, what exactly is the obstacle that prevents our local councils from sending dogs to an animal shelter to be spayed or neutered and re-homed through an adoption drive? Are they in financial straits? Are they lacking in education to perform their job? Have they hired the wrong kind of people to do the job? Or is it the fact that they just don’t care?

We can’t teach compassion to those who refuse to accept it. Sometimes, you either have it or you don’t (neurological research points towards a physiological basis as one factor of empathy).

But the least local governments can do, is to work together with independent animal rescuers and animal welfare organisations to come up with a more humane basis for the regulation of stray animals, and to enforce these regulations in that same spirit of humanity.

There may be no electoral incentives (yet) for local governments to work with these groups, but I strongly believe they will be more than happy to help out. It’s as simple as asking.

“Destroying” is unnecessary. The act of “destroying” a living being who can experience emotions, pain and suffering when humane alternatives are available is a sadistic act of psychopaths. Wanton destruction of any life form in the name of official duty does not change the fact of its unethical and inhumane nature.

I like to share with you now a video that I produced when I was training under the International Center for Journalist (ICFJ) Citizen Journalism Workshop. This video looks into the methods used by the Kuala Lumpur City Council, better known as DBKL, in its rounding up of stray cats and dogs. A TV3 programme then revealed the inhumane and cruel treatment of these animals which caused a public uproar.

On February 7, 2009, concerned citizens gathered at the city council pound where these animals are sent, killed and their carcasses dumped into a nearby shallow mass graves.

Video: Voiceless Voices

Tell the local council and the government how you feel about their system in handling stray dogs. Write to them or call them at:

Gerbang Mesra Selangor
Pusat Teknologi Maklumat dan Komunikasi Negeri Selangor,
Ibu Pejabat Kerajaan Negeri Selangor,
Tingkat 2, Bangunan S.S.A.A.S.
40503 Shah Alam
Malaysia

Tel     : +603 5544 7569
Fax    : +603 5519 1189
Email: [email protected]

The Prime Minister of Malaysia
Main Block, Perdana Putra Building,
Federal Government Administrative Centre,
62502 Putrajaya,
Malaysia

Tel     : +603 8888 8000
Fax    : +603 8888 3444
Email: [email protected]

Also read, Letter: Local councils, biggest dog abusers in Malaysia