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Deal with stray dogs MBPJ way, says councillor

Deal with stray dogs MBPJ way, says councillor - Free Malaysia Today
Tarani Palani
May 12, 2011

A MBPJ councillor tells his counterparts in Batu Pahat to be more humane in dealing with strays, and offers suggestions.
PETALNG JAYA: Petaling Jaya (MBPJ) councillor Anthony Thanasayan has offered suggestions to the Batu Pahat local council on how to deal with the problem of stray dogs.

Thansayan, who also operates Petpositive, said an immediate way of handling the issue would be to mimic MBPJ where a committee inclusive of the Canine Advisory Team (CAT) was set up to deal with stray dogs.

'Stray dogs are a problem but you can't just have a knee-jerk reaction. If the council is saying that it is short staffed, then set up a committee consisting of council members, representatives from NGOs and the Veterinary Department. Then decide how to further tackle the issue,' he added.

He was responding to a video which had been making its rounds on Facebook and YouTube showing Batu Pahat council workers putting a dog down. The video drew criticism that the dog catchers acted in a cruel manner.

Batu Pahat council president Sallehuddin Hassan yesterday told FMT that the stray dog problem was incessant in Batu Pahat and welcomed pet lovers to assist the council as it was short of man power.

Thanasayan said instead of killing the dogs on the streets, the council should set up a dog pound in Batu Pahat and put the dogs down there or offer them up for adoption.

'There needs to be a budget for a pound. It is the humane, modern and caring way,' he added.
Acknowledging that the problem of stray dogs must be dealt with, Thanasayan said: 'As much for wishful thinking, we have to respect the rights of those who don't respect animals.'

Despite being an animal lover, he said stray dogs should be put to sleep if a decent home was not found for them.

Contacted later, Sallehudin said Thanasayan had spoken to him, and he welcomed the latter's suggestions.

He added that the suggestions would be raised in the next council meeting on May 18.

*Change in attitude*

Commenting on the issue, Malaysian Animal Welfare Society president Shenaaz Khan said the council's move to invite NGOs was typical, 'whenever they are caught with their pants down'.

'Prior to reported incidents, councils will hardly allow NGOs to assist,' she said.

Conceding that stray dogs were a problem, Shenaaz however said they should be dealt with in a more humane manner.

Shenaaz said 'suggestions and policies sound great on paper' but there must be a clear change in attitude with regard to treating animals.

She added that even in pounds, there were cases where the dogs would not be fed simply because these animals were slated to be put down.

Stray dogs: Town seeks animal lovers' help
Tarani Palani
May 11, 2011

The Batu Pahat Municipal Council reacts to criticism of its dog catching method. PETALING JAYA: The Batu Pahat Municipal Council today invited animal lovers to help it clear the streets of stray dogs.

According to council president Sallehuddin Hassan, Batu Pahat's stray dog problem is so bad that dog catching has had to be outsourced; the council lacks the manpower to handle all the complaints it receives.

'Right now, we are paying contractors RM40 for a stray dog,' he told FMT. 'So if animal lovers can come up with a better method, I welcome them. Come and see us. They can't just complain.'

The council considers even a licensed dog a stray if it is found outside the premises of its owner.

Sallehuddin was responding to criticism that dog catchers in Batu Pahat did their job with cruelty. The criticisms came after the posting of a YouTube video showing dog catchers in action.

The clip is also making the rounds of Facebook, but was removed from YouTube after it was flagged as inappropriate.

Sallehuddin said most of the complaints that the council received about stray dogs were about the noise they made and the aggression some of them displayed.

'If we don't take appropriate action, the public will be mad at us,' he said.

Asked if he thought catching dogs with a snare and putting them down with an injection was inhuman and violent, he said: 'That is the method. Whether it is violent or not, that is subjective and up to the perspectives of individuals.'

The Malaysian Animal Welfare Society has decried the incident shown in the video.

'The continued barbarism displayed by many councils is a blatant product of the government's inhuman and callous attitude toward animals,' it said in a statement.

It asked the Department of Veterinary Services and the police to use the law against the council, which it described as 'ruthless'.

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