Wed, 18th May 2011, 08:34pm25 FEBRUARY 2010, SELAYANG – Visits by the Society For The Prevention of Cruelty To Animals (SPCA Selangor) and animal rescuers to the Majlis Perbandaran Selayang (MPS) dog pound in Rawang in the last few days have revealed that the pound is grossly mismanaged, and that almost a dozen dogs have died in the pound since Sunday.
On Sunday, an animal rescuer visited the pound and reported that it appeared the dogs were not being fed or watered. She brought back 5 emaciated puppies, one of which was dying already. The SPCA vets had to euthanise the puppies due to their severe condition, and sent them for a post-mortem at the Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) on Monday morning.
SPCA’s help declined
SPCA contacted MPS Director of Health and Licensing Dr. Razif Zainol Abidin on Monday morning, offering a supply of dog food and assistance with improving conditions at the pound. However, Dr Razif declined the offers, saying that the MPS had food and did not need help with the pound.
Later on Monday, the SPCA Selangor Inspectors and vet went to the pound, but were denied access to the pound. The caretaker refused to let them in, as he did not want to get into any trouble with the management. However, after some coaxing he allowed them to go in briefly to look around – but warned them not to take any photos. There were approximately 20 dogs and puppies in the kennels, only half of which appeared to be in reasonable health. The kennels and dogs were heavily infested with ticks. Volunteers from animal rescue groups Malaysian Dogs Deserve Better and AnimalCare had brought food and water containers, and bags of dog food earlier and had fed and watered the dogs.
Two dogs lie dead in the MPS Pound on Wednesday morning
“Though the floor had been washed down, there was no evidence that the kennels were disinfected regularly to prevent the spread of prevailing diseases in the pound like distemper, parvovirus, and tick-fever,” says SPCA Selangor Veterinarian Dr Karen Koh. There were four dogs in one kennel that looked very ill and emaciated. “Since providing medical care for the dogs is beyond the means of the council, they must ensure that dogs that are severely injured or ill are euthanized by a vet promptly, and not left suffering in these enclosures for days,” says SPCA Selangor Animal Inspector Cunera Kimlon.
A second visit was made early Wednesday morning. The gate to the pound was open, and the SPCA team began inspecting the kennels again and taking photographs. The sickly dogs that were seen two days earlier were no longer around. All the puppies had been placed together in one kennel, while the neighbouring kennels housed 2-3 adult dogs each. Food and water placed by animal rescuers was still there. Two dogs were found dead, a brown mix-breed dog and a black Spitz-mix wearing a red collar.
“We were invited to a meeting with Majlis Perbandaran Selayang, to discuss how to immediately improve this miserable situation the pound dogs are facing, but this invitation was immediately revoked upon them learning of our pound visit on Wednesday morning,” says SPCA Selangor Chairman Christine Chin. “However, we are still keen on teaching them how to manage their pound better in the short-term and long-term – if they are willing to accept our help. Municipals should be encouraging animal loving constituents to help at the pound, not chasing them out,” she continues.
Puppies, some too small to drink from the water container
Council in the spotlight again
In 2007, MPS incurred the wrath of dog-lovers all over the world when they decided to initiate a financially rewarding dog-catching competition inviting the public to participate in what looked like ‘fun-filled festivity’ to reduce the stray population. The competition was quickly scrapped after protests from animal welfare NGOs and the public. Animal welfare NGOs have always highlighted that reducing the stray population requires a long-term strategy - low-cost spay/neuter programs, public awareness campaigns, proper licensing and effective legislation discouraging abandonment of pets or allowing them to stray in their neighbourhood.
SPCA pressures for prosecution
SPCA Selangor has over the years lobbied the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) to regulate and monitor dog-catching activities and the management of council pounds. Last year, the DVS issued the ‘Guidelines for Humane Stray Management for Local Councils’ to all Malaysian municipal councils, but few improvements have been made by the councils – with even basic needs such as food, water and a clean environment often not provided for the dogs.
“SPCA Selangor is pressing for a closure of all pounds that are not managed humanely, and strongly condemns those that reject help from animal welfare groups. This withholding of food, water, and medical attention causing unnecessary pain, suffering and death to the impounded dogs is tantamount to cruelty to animals. MPS officials in charge of the pound management must be charged for cruelty to animals under Section 43 of The Animal Act 1953(revised 2006). The DVS must take strong action against these perpetrators as this offense is so widespread – municipal councils feel the law will never catch them as they have been getting away with it for years,” Chin urges.
‘We are shocked and disappointed with the conditions at the Selayang pound, and we are sending out a strong message that SPCA Selangor and fellow Malaysians find the inhumane treatment of these dogs completely unacceptable,” she continues.