Petaling Jaya police today admitted that they are not investigating the owners of Petknode under the Penal Code for cheating and theft since the case has been brought to the attention of the Selangor Department of Veterinary Services.
This is in spite of the fact that more than 30 owners of the cats who suffered from severe malnourishment or had died have lodged police reports at Sungai Buloh Police Station against the owners last night.
When pressed by animal welfare activists and pet owners at Bukit Aman this evening, a police official at the scene said general law would not be used when there is a specific law concerning the issue.
“Since DVS (Selangor Department of Veterinary Service) is investigating the issue, we are not doing any investigations until they finish,” he told the 10-people group.
Malaysian Animal Rights Society (ROAR) President N. Surendran, however, argued that the police would not need to wait on DVS to pursue its own investigations.
“This is a clear-cut cheating case; Petknode has taken money from the owners, and in return promised them good care of their pets. But that did not happen,” he said.
Surendran, along with Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) chairwoman, Christine Chin, Lawyers for Liberty member, Latheefa Koya, Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar and other sympathetic people, were at the Bukit Aman police headquarters to demand immediate action by the authorities.
They first requested to meet the Inspector-General of Police, Ismail Omar, but were turned down as Ismail was not at Bukit Aman. They then asked for an update on the police investigation.
“Based on our information, there were a total of 300 cats (at the Petknode boarding home for pets), but the volunteers only managed to rescue 200, which means 100 cats are still missing,” Surendran told reporters before meeting with the police.
“This is race against time (to save the 100 animals),” he added.
His remark revealed that only 200 cats were rescued by the volunteers on Sunday, not 300 as previously reported.
Surendran said Petknode owners also breached Section 379 of the Penal Code for theft, as the 100 cats who belong to their owners have gone missing.
He also refuted the police notion that the case is under the jurisdiction of the DVS.
“Animal cruelty cases come under DVS, but cheating and theft are police issues. There is no way the police can say they have no authority to investigate,” he said.
Petaling Jaya CID chief, Deputy Supt Sia Siew Keng, who is handling the case, told Surendran over the phone that cheating falls under the purview of Commercial Crime Department.
The police spokesperson at the scene said that a meeting will be arranged between Petaling Jaya OCPD Arjunaidi Mohamed and the group tomorrow, before he received a memorandum from the group and left the scene.
The group felt they were given a run-around by the police.
SPCA chairwoman Chin said she was “quite surprised” at the way police is dealing the case.
“This is not rocket science. If the cats are missing, you just go and look for the two culprits (shop owners),” she said.
Nurul Izzah meanwhile said that the proposal of any new law on animal welfare would be meaningless if the authorities refuse to enforce the existing laws available.
She was among the MPs who endorsed a memorandum which urges the IGP to:
1) allocate more resources into locating and questioning the operators of Petknode to locate the missing cats;
2) ensure its owners bear the full brunt of the law for fraud, theft and breach of contract, lack of fiduciary responsibility;
3) co-operate thoroughly and meainingfully with the Department of Veterinary Services to curtail and prosecute animal abusers;
4) fine the culprits RM200 per animal harmed; and
5) be more responsive to acts of cruelty towards animal.