Tue, 11 Sep 2007
Animal lovers protest against contest
By: Llew-Ann Phang
KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 11, 2007): A group of 30 animal lovers from several organisations marched to the Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) today to loudly protest against the council’s dog-catching competition which is offering RM15,000 as the first prize to residents committees.
Representatives from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), Malaysian Animal Rights and Welfare Association, Malaysian Animal-Assisted Therapy for the Disabled and Elderly Association (PetPositive) and the Coalition of Animal Lovers chanted "Stop the hunt!" and held up posters to get their message through.
MPS enforcement officers stood on guard at the main entrance of the MPS tower, while the group led by SPCA chairwoman Christina Chin, the Coalition’s Natasha Valerie Fernz and PetPositive president Anthony Thanasayan marched in, with DAP’s Ronnie Liu and N. Surendran in tow.
They wanted to hand over a joint memorandum to MPS president Zainal Abidin Azim but he was on leave.
MPS assistant public relations officer Helda Syima Abu Talab met the group with some colleagues, including officers from the enforcement unit, but the group asked instead to see the health and municipal services director.
The crowd’s patience was further tested by a Selayang resident who spoke aloud about the lack of concern for dog-bitten victims, and defended throwing stones at stray dogs, saying these dogs threatened people.
Amid this, animal groomer Nuraini Rozaiti Mahamud, 35, stole the show with her Mix.fm life-size cardboard cutouts of radio DJs Ika, Serena C and Pietro in one hand, and her Australian silky terrier Phoebe in the other.
Nuraini said she would allocate some of the RM50,000 prize money – if she won the Mix.fm competition that ends on Friday (Sept 14) – to animal shelters, and treat orphans to a kenduri, besides pursuing her studies in animal psychiatry in Australia.
She waved off concerns that she would get into trouble if a picture of her and Phoebe was published, saying she did not neglect her Islamic obligations of samak (washing with mud), and found it an easier task with the taharah soap (made of mud) found in traditional Malay medicinal shops.
An MPS assistant administration officer finally persuaded the group to hand over their memorandum to Helda because the health and municipal services director was in a meeting.
The memorandum states that stray animals were a result of irresponsible owners who dumped and abandoned their pets or owned pets that were not neutered.
Together, the organisations called for:
- an immediate end to the dog-catching competition;
- implementation of highly effective neutering initiatives;
- fines against irresponsible pet owners who dump and abandon their pets;
- implementation of smart, humane and effective legislation to promote responsible pet ownership; and
- education and publicity campaigns to promote responsible pet ownership.