Saturday, September 13, 2014

Dogs poisoned in the heart of KL


One of the most potent dangers a dog is likely to face in its lifetime, besides physical abuse is poisoning. Whether a dog is owned or a stray, poisoning is always a clear and present danger. Stray dogs are more likely targets, as they are constantly scavenging for food and a tasty piece of meat is not easy to resist when you don't know where your next meal is coming from.

That being said, many beloved pet dogs have also fallen victim to poisoning from neighbours who don't like the presence of dogs in their neighbourhood, people who might dislike the dog's owner or simply very cruel people who hate dogs.

In fact the poisoning of dogs is way too common for comfort, as it is the easiest way for an unscrupulous person to get rid of an unwanted dog without being found out. Just walk or drive by in the dark of the night, throw the lethal piece of meat, and the deed is done.

Throw a stone, and you're likely to hit a person who has had a dog poisoned, know of people who lost a dog that way or heard a story to that effect.

And in almost all cases, they will likely tell you that they knew or had a suspicion of who the culprits are and can't do anything about it.

"What can we do?" is likely to be the most common expression, or "We know that it was likely that neighbour, he hates it when our dog barks when he passes by".

Some animal lovers have also resolved not to have dogs anymore once a pet is poisoned, fearing that the next dog they take in will suffer the same fate at the hands of "poisoned ones".

The power in poison

Through it all, one thing is clear, those with the "poisoned hands" keep getting away with it. In fact over the years, there have been complains that some local councils have also used poison as an easy way to get rid of stray dogs.

So what does one do when a dog you love falls victim to poisoning? Before the advent of social media, most people would quietly bury their fallen dogs in the backyard and say nothing about it after shedding a few silent tears. 

The bodies of the unfortunate strays would be picked up by the council workers the next day. And some might say:"There were too many of them, they scavenged in the bins, barked at people, some people found them a menace......"

In this age of social media, the photos of the fallen pets and strays would be shared on Facebook and Twitter with expressions of anger and sadness. I have seen many of this posts myself, but rarely is this followed with a police report and media coverage on the incident.

Most Malaysians would probably say: " But dogs get poisoned all the time. More important things are happening, like who is gonna get hauled up next by the police for insulting the royalty on Facebook.

Yup the police are too busy surfing Facebook these days to look at the poison on the ground. But the fact that dogs or cats are found poisoned is important and should make the news! It is a reflection of the society that we live in, and people who are cruel to animals can turn on humans too. 

The dogs at Jalan Tun Razak

In late August, ten dogs who lived in the car park near the RHB building at Jalan Tun Razak were found poisoned by their feeders. The tragic fate of the dogs who were in the process of being rehomed was greeted by anger and sadness by independent rescuers and animals lovers when the news was shared on Facebook.

Poisoned to death. The Jalan Tun Razak dogs.

What followed was reportage on the incident as the feeders who had been caring for the dogs spoke to the media urging for understanding and cooperation from the public for the work that independent rescuers undertake.

Seeking justice: The group that took care of the dogs showing photographs of the dogs that were found poisoned.

They also lodged a police report on the incident to seek justice for the unfortunate canine pack and to send a strong message to the public that what happened was unacceptable and poison should not be used as a weapon against strays or pet dogs.

News coverage on the incident:

Rescuer urges compassion for strays after poisoning incident

Poisoning not the solution

Ten dogs feared poisoned in Bukit Bintang car park

No policy to poison strays, says City Hall


Friday, September 12, 2014

Cabbie for the blind

On August 30, I saw a post by a friend on my Facebook timeline that made my day. An FB user who goes by the name Eddie Fendy Mkah posted that he offers taxi services to blind people with guide dogs. This is a screenshot of the Facebook post.



In any other country or any other situation, no one would have batted an eyelid if they came across this post. But this is Malaysia, and animal lovers here, both non-Muslims and Muslims are fighting an arduous battle against the huge bias and fear of dogs in Malaysian society.

So deep rooted is this fear and lack of understanding of man's best friend that in May this year, visually impaired Stevens Chan was asked to leave a mall because he had his faithful guide dog Lashawn in tow. After being told to leave, he could not even get a cab home, because the drivers did not want a dog in their cab.

In light of the problems faced by Chan which shone a harsh spotlight on the plight of the visually impaired, Eddie's post went viral on Facebook and earned him the admiration of many Malaysians.

The following week, this kind hearted cabbie whose real name is Mohd Kamil Affendy Hashim was featured in The Ant Daily, Malay Mail Online and The Star Online.

Cabbie who finds dogs to be more palatable passengers

Hop on board doggie, says cabbie

Visionary cabbie warms netizens' hearts

Hopefully more kind hearted cabbies will start coming forward to offer taxi services for the visually impaired and their guide dogs.

And to all those who do, "Semoga murah rezeki selalu".



Saturday, August 9, 2014

Tuol Sleng - Pol Pot's house of horror

Even if they die many times over, it would not be enough." This is what a survivor of the brutal Khmer Rouge regime that plunged the country into its darkest era ever, said when two senior members of the regime were sentenced to life imprisonment on Thursday, Aug 7, 2014, for crimes against humanity more than 30 years ago.

Naturally its scant justice, for Khieu Samphan is 83 and Nuon Chea, 88. Pol Pot the main leader of the Khmer Rouge died in the jungles of Cambodia in 1998. As I write this, many former Khmer Rouge commanders are still free and will likely never be brought to justice.

In 2009, I went to Siem Reap with a group of friends to view the iconic Angkor Wat. The initial plan was to spend four days and three nights in the tourist hub, but after some deliberation, we decided that a trip to Cambodia would not be complete without taking in all of its history, so we took a ferry to Phnom Penh to visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum.

I have never shared the photos from my visit to Tuol Sleng (Hill of the Poisonous Trees), a former high school which was turned into the notorious Security Prison 21 during the Khmer Rouge's reign of terror. In the aftermath of Thursday's sentencing, I decided to share it here on my blog because like many other like minded people out there, I believe the world should never forget what happened in Cambodia from 1975 to 1979 during the reign of Pol Pot and his cohorts. 


 It is said that of the 14,000 plus people who entered Security Prison 21 or S-21, only seven were believed to have survived. When you look at the following photos, you will know why.


The entrance to Tuol Sleng, before you enter, you have the option of hiring a guide. Some of the guides who work here are survivors of the regime or are those who have been affected by it in some way, which gives an eerie depth to their narrative of what happened within the walls of this prison of terror.


Our guide, a calm and serene woman in her 30s, lost her whole family during the Khmer Rouge era. Her husband and only child are the only family she has. I wondered what it must be like for her, working in a place where her own family members were tortured and met their end.




A prisoner's bed.




Classroom were divided into brick-walled cells for the prisoners.


The view from one of the cells.


A chair used to photograph victims brought to S-21.


These instruments were used to make victims suffer a slow and painful death.


Implements of torture.


The Waterboard - prisoners legs were shackled to the bar on the right, their wrists were restrained to the brackets on the left and water was poured over their face using the watering can. 
Source: Wikipedia


A victim of torture.


Photos of Khmer Rouge victims.


Photos from the Khmer Rouge era.


Photos of female victims as seen through a window.


Photos of male victims.


A "skull map" of Cambodia.


Images from the "killing fields"


Cabinet filled with human skulls.


A macabre tribute to those who perished during those dark years - skulls in glass exhibits.


Even children were not spared from cruelty.


Scenes of torture.


More scenes of torture.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Lashawn goes to the mall

When you're a guide dog in Malaysia, being able to walk into a mall and not get kicked out is a big deal indeed. Infact it is such an achievement that it would warrant some amount of media coverage which it did. Breakthrough for the blind as guide dog is allowed into mall


Lashawn however has been creating history ever since he landed in Malaysia. For starters this professionally trained Labrador is the first-ever guide dog for the visually impaired permitted into the country. Can you believe it? After all these years of economic progress, having the world's tallest building and what not, and we did not even have something as basic as trained guide dogs for the disabled.

Lashawn and his master Stevens Chan the CEO and founder of Dialogue in the Dark (DID) as well as Save Ones Sight Mission Bhd (SOS Mission) and Malaysia Glaucoma Society are out to change all that through the "Dogs for Sight" campaign.

DID (www.did.my) is committed to bridging the gap between the visually-impaired and mainstream society to facilitate social inclusion on a global basis as well as raise awareness and create acceptance, thereby overcoming barriers between the visually-impaired and the general public through its Dogs for Sight Campaign. 

More mall visits for Lashawn?

Lashawn and Chan's recent trip to the Sunway Pyramid Shopping Mall is a part of the ongoing Dogs for Sight Campaign.

According to Sunway Pyramid senior marketing manager Loo Hoey Theen, the mall had guidelines for blind people with guide dogs.

“When they enter our mall, the concierge staff will approach them to offer assistance,” she said.

She said the mall allowed guide dogs into its compound but the owners must adhere to its standard operating procedure (SOP).

“We will first ask the owner if he or she wants to leave the dog outside,” she said.

“If so, our security personnel will look after the dog.

“However, if the owner requests that the dog remains at his or her side, our concierge staff and security personnel will escort them around.”

Loo said this was to avoid people from coming up to the dog and disturbing it.

This is certainly a start, and a step in the right direction by Sunway Pyramid. Hopefully other malls and premises will follow suit. 

Lashawn and other guide dogs for the visually impaired who will come into this country in the future should not be impeded in their work because of narrow minded views and a poor understanding of how guide dogs function. Because in denying them the right to perform the tasks that they are trained for, we are denying the disabled the right to lead independent lives.

This certainly won't be the last we hear of Lashawn - the country's pioneer guide dog for the visually impaired, who together with his master are out to break existing social taboos.


As a fellow blogger friend rightly pointed out, why are toy dogs who fit into handbags ok to be taken about in public but not guide dogs who perform a necessary function for their disabled masters. The former serves as an accessory and are pets, the latter are working dogs. Why the bias?

Sunway Pyramid senior marketing manager Loo Hoey Theen said the mall had guidelines for blind people with guide dogs.
“When they enter our mall, the concierge staff will approach them to offer assistance,” she said.
She said the mall allowed guide dogs into its compound but the owners must adhere to its standard operating procedure (SOP).
“We will first ask the owner if he or she wants to leave the dog outside,” she said.
“If so, our security personnel will look after the dog.
“However, if the owner requests that the dog remains at his or her side, our concierge staff and security personnel will escort them around.”
Loo said this was to avoid people from coming up to the dog and disturbing it.
“This SOP applies to anyone who has a guide dog,” she said.
- See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/breakthrough-for-visually-impaired-as-guide-dog-is-allowed-into-mall#sthash.mCNFocbm.dpuf

“Dogs for Sight” campaign.
“Dogs for Sight” campaign.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Guide dogs for the blind in Malaysia

 Sometimes it just takes one incident to shine a harsh spotlight on how unevolved we are as a society. In this case it was a simple experiment undertaken by a man on a mission to provide sight and mobility to the blind via guide dogs.

The man in question is Stevens Chan the founder of Malaysia Glaucoma Society (MGS) who took his guide dog Lashawn - who is Malaysia's first and only guide dog for the blind (A professionally trained labrador who is the first ever guide dog permitted in the country) to a mall in an exercise to gauge public response as part of Chan's Dogs for Sight Campaign.


What happened during that exercise was reported in the malay mail online on May 24, 2014 and outraged netizens when the article made its rounds on social media.

Man's best friend not loved by everyone

Besides being asked to leave the mall, Chan was also unable to get a cab home because the drivers insisted that animals were not allowed in cabs. What followed next was a flurry of conflicting statements from several parties - all of which leaves blind Malaysians who wish for mobility in limbo.

On May 28, 2014 the malay mail online reported that Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar has said there should not be a problem with allowing guide dogs to assist the disabled in using public transportation. He added that it was only a question of getting the public to get used to it.


The same article quoted KTM Berhad corporate communications manager Siti Badariah Wan Hanafi as saying that although KTM did not allow any type of animal to go on board its trains, it would adhere to SPAD’s guidelines, should the commission allow guide dogs.

RapidKL however said it would not allow guide dogs on board its rail (LRT) and bus services. Reason being it would cause uneasiness or anxiety among its passengers.

Read more about it here
SPAD says guide dogs can ride on public transport

On May 29, 2014, Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Abdul Aziz Kaprawi added a further spoke in the wheel when he said SPAD’s regulations should not conflict with city regulations set by local authorities.

He also surprisingly said that guide dogs could actually prove to be an inconvenience for the blind.

“What if the dog pees in a bus or in the train? Who will clean up the mess? I fear the other commuters might get angry with the disabled owner,” he was quoted as saying.

The lack of understanding inherent in that statement confounded many netizens who took to social media to express their ire at the deputy minister's lack of understanding and inability to see the difference between a trained guide dog and one that was not.

When quizzed about the successful implementation of guide dogs in South Korea and Japan, Abdul Aziz said both countries were not a good comparison because of their ethnic makeup. 

The Department of Islamic Development (Jakim) director-general Datuk Othman Mustapha joined the fray by saying that touching dogs was considered haram under Islamic law, and hence it was inappropriate to use guide dogs, especially in public areas, because of the Muslim majority.

“Muslims may accidentally brush against dogs, and dogs and their fur are unclean under Islamic tenets,” he said.

Read about it here
Use of guide dogs must follow city by-laws, says deputy minister

It appears however that the Jakim DG does not speak for all of the Muslim world. In an NST online article dated January 7, 2013, Perlis mufti Dr Juanda Jaya said there is no rule in Islam which prohibits the use of service dogs to guide the blind.

On why blind Muslims in the country do not consider having guide dogs, Juanda said there was confusion on the exact ruling and status of dogs in the religion

The article also quoted Fatwa Council president Tan Sri Dr Abdul Shukor Husni as saying there was no specific fatwa issued for guide dogs for the blind.

If there is a request and we see a present need for the issuance of a fatwa on guide dogs, we will have a meeting to discuss this issue thoroughly," said Shukor.

More on this at:
Islam allows blind to use dogs

In 2008, the United Kingdom's Muslim Law (Syariah) Council issued a fatwa stating that "a blind person, in the light of syariah law, will be allowed to keep a guide dog to help him and if required to take him to the mosque for his prayers".

Then, 18-year-old Mohammed Abraar Khatri, who lost his sight because of a degenerative disease the same year, championed the rights of Muslims to use the services of guide dogs with help from the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association and the Muslim Council of Britain.

His guide dog, named Vargo, accompanied Mohammed to school, outings and to the mosque.
A special compartment was set up within the mosque compound to let the dog stay while Mohammed went to pray.



"Mohammad Shahid Raza, director of the Imams and Mosques Council UK, said: "I believe that in all new mosques such facilities for disabled people will be an essential part of their design.

"Such a facility will highlight the Islamic attitude of helping disabled people and enhance the services we provide to the Muslim community." 

Mohammed's father Gafar Khatri said: "Now instead of being dependent on other people to take him places he can now go where ever he wants when he wants. 

Ruling allows guide dog in mosque

A time for change

The argument in favour of allowing the blind to  have guide dogs are many and that which opposes it appears to be only one - public perception. And public perception can be changed. It will take time, but it is possible.

The public needs to be educated not to fear guide dogs. They need to be enlightened on how guide dogs function. 

There needs to be a comprehensive education campaign via the media with the support of the Transport Ministry, Women, Family and Community Development Ministry and the Malaysian Association for the Blind (MAB) to spread awareness on this issue.

The government also needs to engage with the companies that run the major public transportation networks in the country to get them to support this move.

Islam is not an obstacle

As mentioned above, if a blind Muslim boy in the United Kingdom can have a guide dog and bring it into the compound of a mosque, why can't Muslim and non-Muslim blind Malaysians bring their guide dogs out in public in Muslim majority Malaysia?

Based on the above example and quotes by Muslim religious leaders  in Malaysia and the United Kingdom ( see above) Islam cannot be used as an excuse to deny the blind mobility.

Disabled friendly

Malaysia sees itself as a disabled friendly country, we allocate parking spaces for them, seats aboard public transportation, specific cubicles in public toilets among others. So why the prejudice against guide dogs for the blind?

As the debate on this issue continues, many blind people continue to go about their daily life without the aid of a guide dog which would enhance the level of independence they enjoy.

Not all blind people have the luxury of having a family member or friend guide them every step of the way. Also many prefer to be independent and do things on their own and rightly so. But there are dangers present being a blind person on your own in public, dependent on the kindness of strangers. Crime and accidents always remains a worry.

Dogs for Sight


The Dogs for Sight (DFS) campaign is an initiative by Save One’s Sight Mission (SOSM) and Glaucoma Society Malaysia (GSM), of which Stevens Chan is also the founder and CEO.

Chan said DFS planned to push for guide dogs to be allowed in public facilities such as trains and hotels so that more of this canine help could be brought into Malaysia.

“We have already secured five dogs, including their training, at a cost of RM250,000 from the Nanjing Police Academy in China,” he said. Adding that two of the dogs could arrive next year.

Chan said this at the launch of a DFS campaign to garner 100,000 signatures with a minimum RM10 donation to raise awareness of guide dogs and funds to help set up a facility to train them in Malaysia.

SOS Mission, the event arm of Malaysia Glaucoma Society, first launched the Dog for Sight Campaign in 2012 to educate the public on the need to give the visually-impaired in Malaysia a chance to regain their lives, dignity and mobility. 

SOS Mission works towards getting approvals to allow guide dogs to work in Malaysia.

Currently, there are more than 30,000 blind Malaysians officially registered and many more in smaller towns and children who are not registered.

SOS Mission notes that it is important to give the blind a chance to have a job and live independently. 

More on the DFS campaign

http://www.thesundaily.my/news/1052288

http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2014/05/09/Dont-feed-or-pet-guide-dogs-public-urged-New-campaign-aims-to-pr

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/features/article/meet-lashawn-malaysias-first-and-only-guide-dog

http://www.visionkl.com/article/dogs-dark

http://coffeeticks.my/guide-dogs-for-the-blind-not-welcomed/

http://www.theheat.my/Article.aspx?ArticleId=3818

http://www.spca.org.my/v51/noticeboard.php?id=484










Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Abdul Aziz Kaprawi

Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar has said there should not be a problem with allowing guide dogs to assist the disabled in using public transportation, as well as in public places. - See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/spad-says-guide-dogs-can-ride-on-public-transport#sthash.tFDFKz7n.dpuf












Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar has said there should not be a problem with allowing guide dogs to assist the disabled in using public transportation - See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/spad-says-guide-dogs-can-ride-on-public-transport#sthash.s3ex80Il.dpuf
Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar has said there should not be a problem with allowing guide dogs to assist the disabled in using public transportation - See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/spad-says-guide-dogs-can-ride-on-public-transport#sthash.s3ex80Il.dpuf
Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar has said there should not be a problem with allowing guide dogs to assist the disabled in using public transportation, - See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/spad-says-guide-dogs-can-ride-on-public-transport#sthash.s3ex80Il.dpuf
Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar has said there should not be a problem with allowing guide dogs to assist the disabled in using public transportation, - See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/spad-says-guide-dogs-can-ride-on-public-transport#sthash.s3ex80Il.dpuf
Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar has said there should not be a problem with allowing guide dogs to assist the disabled in using public transportation, - See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/spad-says-guide-dogs-can-ride-on-public-transport#sthash.s3ex80Il.dpuLashawn was brought here under the Dogs for Sight (DFS) campaign by the Save One’s Sight Mission (SOSM) and Glaucoma Society Malaysia (GSM), of which Chan is also the founder and CEO.DFS, he said, planned to push for guide dogs to be allowed in public facilities such as trains and hotels so that more of this canine help could be brought in to Malaysia.“We have already secured five dogs, including their training, at a cost of RM250,000 from the Nanjing Police Academy in China,” he said. adding that two of the dogs could arrive next year.A guide dog had to be trained for at least two years before it was carefully matched with an owner, he said.Chan was at the launch of a DFS campaign to garner 100,000 signatures with a minimum RM10 donation to raise awareness of guide dogs and funds to help set up a facility to train them in Malaysia.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

MPJBT sees solution in private dog catchers

Last month the reputation of the Johor Baru Central Municipal Council (MPJBT) took a beating when a video surfaced on Facebook showing enforcement staff bludgeoning stray dogs to death.

Under fire, MPJBT called a halt to ongoing operations to round up stray dogs and promised to come up with a more humane approach to tackle the issue of stray dogs.

A little more than a month later, the council announced its solution - private dog catchers who will put the dogs down with lethal injection.


The private dog catching company would charge the council RM100 per animal. All strays will be photographed and documented before the company makes a claim with the council

Read about it here
 http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2014/07/15/MPJBT-engages-private-company-to-put-down-stray-dogs/

The decision however did little to redeem MPJBT's reputation among animal lovers. Within minutes of the article being posted on Facebook, netizens reacted with outrage.

Many expressed disappointment with the government for not doing enough for animal welfare. Most Malaysians also felt that the huge amount of money being spent to upkeep the Panda duo from China could be channelled to rehabilitate and help stray animals instead.

Some Facebook users said the money paid to the dog catchers, could be used to set up a shelter for the strays.

" If they can spend RM100 per dog, they can take the strays off the streets instead of killing them," said a Facebook user, expressing frustration at the lack of empathy towards stray animals.

Open to abuse

Many netizens also expressed their misgivings, citing cases where private dog catchers viciously hunted down strays and even pets to earn more money. 

Previously in Kuala Lumpur and other states, there have been cases where people who were taking their dogs out for a walk, had their pets snatched from them because they could not produce the dog's licence on the spot.

There have also been cases of these private dog catchers climbing into people's compound to snatch dogs, even caged ones.

Will they stick to the lethal injection?

As stressed by MPJBT, the lethal injections are expensive, and the strays many, thanks to irresponsible owners who dump their pets and the reluctance of local councils to engage with NGOs to initiate TNRM (Trap-Neuter-Release-Manage) programmes - proven to be one of the most effective and humane solutions to control the stray population.

As such, will a profit-driven private company, the private dog catchers in this case, stick to the "expensive" lethal injections in putting down the strays or will they at some point resort to "cheaper" methods to maximise profit.

Their brief from MPJBT is to put down the dogs with lethal injection, but does the council have in place a monitoring system to ensure that the dog catchers are sticking to this method? Besides the documentation that they have to submit to make a claim.

Also the lethal injection can only be administered by a vet, and not a layman. Does the private dog catching company hired by the council have a vet in their employ to do this?

Not the solution

Private dog catchers are not the solution in tackling the issue of stray dogs. They are not pest control companies like Rentokil and the strays are not pesky pests or household bugs to be exterminated at will.


Dogs are highly intelligent and sensitive companion animals, we don't call them man's best friend for nothing do we? There needs to be a more well thought out approach to deal with dogs who end up as strays.

Also the stray problem is man-made, the continued dumping of these companion animals and the refusal to spay and neuter has led to a huge number of stray dogs.

What the council needs to do is to engage with animal welfare NGOs and shelter owners to deal with the stray issue. These folks have many ideas on how to tackle the problem, but there is only so much they can do on their own, plus funding is always scarce.

If MPJBT can fork out RM100 per-dog, why not engage with the animal welfare NGOs and put that money to good use.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

An open letter to PM Najib on animal cruelty


The cruelty that was inflicted on Brianna, and old and partially blind Rottweiler, led animal lover Tina Yusman to start an  online petition called Justice For Brianna. The petition which garnered 126, 596 signatures from throughout the world was sent to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak on May 23, 2014 via email and also on Facebook.

Tina also drafted a memorandum to Najib highlighting other recent animal cruelty incidents in the country and urges him to do something about it. The memorandum was also emailed to the media.

I decided to highlight Tina's efforts here, in the hopes that it will inspire other animal lovers out there to lobby for change as well.

To all those out there who believe that animals deserve better, you are not one voiceless person who doesn't count. When you speak up, you speak for all of us, let us all be more vocal in future in gunning for change where animal welfare is concerned.


We are not a minority, we are a majority, and let Tina's memorandum not be the first and last that lands on the Prime Minister's desk.

This is what Tina had to say:

Open Letter to PM – Justice for Brianna

May 25, 2014 
FMT LETTER: From Tina Yusman, via e-mail

Whoever is kind to the creatures of God is kind to himself – Prophet Muhammad

I am writing to you today to request that your government do everything in your power to ensure animal rights in Malaysia are being protected. This is regarding the case of Brianna, the dog which was arrowed two weeks ago.

I seek that the perpetrator be charged with the harshest penalty, the law can accommodate. I am writing this letter, not on behalf of any NGO, Animal Activist, Animal support organisation or of any political affiliation, but just as a normal citizen.

In the eyes of people, I’am worthless. But despite my unworthiness, I am very distraught over our people’s lackadaisical attitude towards animal cruelty.

Animal cruelty is a grave form of violence that must be addressed.  It is also a form of violence that is well recognized in authoritative, academic research as a precursor to violence against humans.  We need a law that takes heinous crimes against animals seriously.


 We need a proper education system that addresses this issue from the grassroots.

I understand that the new Act has made animal cruelty a grave offence, but we need a system that is proactive. A law is only good to punish the perpetrators, but a changed mindset, understanding and compassion towards these creatures may be the solution to curb these cruel tendencies.

Many animal cruelty incidences have happened, which were made public:
  • Hero - the two legged cat whose front legs were chopped off for stealing fish
  • The Petknode case – where hundreds of cats were left to die at the so-called Cat Hotel. They were fined RM6K.. a peanut for their crime.
And not to mention those countless animals abuse cases that either fell on deaf ears or through indifferent eyes. Countless times I have tried to report cruelty cases at DVS website, but either it was not responded or the website system failed.

Yang Amat Berhormat Datuk Seri,

I am a person without status, wealth, or power but as a Malaysian who cares about animals, my heart hurts to see these goes unnoticed.

briana

I forward you a petition which 59,000 (more or less) people (local and international) have signed online to seek Justice for Brianna, and all the other cruelty which our own community have and will inflict upon the animals and environment around us.

This is the URL for the petition site.  In addition to this, we also seek that the government look into:

1 Implementing a pet microchip to determine the dog ownership (if the owner was responsible, he would not have thrown away Brianna).

2 To make it a law that specific breed of dogs to attend training. (People are generally scared of Rottweilers, but they can be great pets).

3 To implement and strengthen a neuter/spay programme to ensure that animals population will not be hazard in a community. (it is a social hazard, admittedly).

4 To ensure all municipal council resort to a more humane way in catching strays.

5 To start animal kindness education from the grass root. The children are our future.

Thank you very much and I hope for your response. You are a cat owner yourself. You must feel something about this.

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by how its animals are treated -  Mahatma Ghandi

Wassalam

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/opinion/2014/05/25/open-letter-to-pm-justice-for-brianna/

MPJBT and the Skudai strays

Fifteen individuals and four non-governmental organisations lodged reports at the Skudai police station on June 11, 2014, against MPJBT. NST PIX

On June 5 a video was uploaded on Facebook showing enforcement personnel from the Johor Baru Central Municipal Council (MPJBT) bludgeoning stray dogs to death with metal rods. Now this is not the first reported incident of cruelty against stray dogs by the local councils, and I fear it won't be the last.

Once the heat is off the council, in this case MPJBT, the "old ways" of dealing with the strays will surface once more until a new incident comes to light.

As such I felt that it would be best to document all the media reports on this particular case. The objective of this post is to serve as a reference point to all the articles and accompanying links on the "Bludgeoning of the Skudai strays".

June 8, 2014

Killing of dogs a 'mistake', council admits responsibility


JOHOR BARU: Johor Baru Central Municipal Council (MPJBT) president Sallehuddin Hassan described the bludgeoning of stray dogs to death with metal rods by enforcement officers as a “terrible mistake”.

A video clip of the staff inhumanely putting down the dogs at the back of a warehouse in Jalan Makmur, Skudai, has gone viral online.

Admitting that plainclothes en­­forcement of­­ficers were respon­­sible for the brutal slaying of the dogs, he said the council would take up the matter seriously.

“We will review the standard operating procedure to put stray dogs to sleep humanely,” he said.

“We will also look into the possibilities of outsourcing the job (catching of stray dogs) to professional dog catchers.”

People living near the MPJBT warehouse said they had heard the dogs howling in pain.

P. Devika, 36, said that she heard dogs barking and sometimes grow­ling as if they were fighting.

“I never thought that they were being inhumanely killed until I saw the video on Facebook,” she said.

G. Suhanthan, 28, who took the video, said he witnessed the incident last Thursday.

“I was shocked by the cruelty,” said the real estate agent.

“I could hear the dogs crying in pain and blood spilling all over the place,” he said.

“I took out my mobile phone and recorded the slayings which lasted for about 20 minutes.”

June 9, 2014

'Draw up guidelines on strays' 

http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2014/06/09/Draw-up-guidelines-on-strays-SPCA-Enforcement-officers-must-follow-procedure-when-catching-animals/

PETALING JAYA: Both the Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Ministry and state governments must together come up with the necessary guidelines for enforcement officers when rounding up stray animals.

“They must follow proper procedure and not inflict any cruelty on animals,” said Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) Selangor patron Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye.

Condemning the alleged killing of stray dogs by Johor Baru Central Municipal Council (MPJBT) enforcement officers with metal rods, Lee said the incident must be investigated and those found guilty of the act should be brought to justice.

“It is barbaric and unacceptable. Although the council has admitted that it was a mistake, those responsible must be acted upon,” he said here yesterday.

Lee was commenting on a report of animal cruelty allegedly committed by MPJBT enforcement officers that was caught on video, which showed them inhumanely putting down the dogs at the back of a warehouse in Jalan Makmur, Skudai.

This latest incident involving animal cruelty, he added, was also a wake-up call for the Government to push for the Animal Welfare Bill.

“All this goes to show that the Bill must be introduced as early as possible before the end of the year. Make the necessary provisions in law to provide for animal welfare and stop all forms of cruelty.

“The Bill must make room for effective enforcement and severe penalty for those who violate the law,” he pointed out.

The existing Animals Act 1953, Lee said, was obsolete and no longer provided for deterrent sentence against those who committed cruelty against animals.

Under Section 44(1) of the Animals Act 1953, those convicted of cruelty to animals face up to a RM200 fine or six months’ jail or both.

In 2011, 24-year-old hawker Chow Xiao Wei was sentenced to RM200 in default of seven days’ jail for each count after she pleaded guilty to two charges of abusing kittens near a shop at Seri Kembangan.

“The sentence is only a minimum fine and that is just a slap on the wrist today,” said Lee.

MPJBT president Sallehuddin Hassan had recently admitted responsibility for the incident, describing it as a “terrible mistake”.

June 11, 2014

'Punish animal abusers in JB council' 

http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2014/06/11/Punish-animal-abusers-in-JB-council-Councillors-want-officers-to-face-disciplinary-action-for-bludge/ 


JOHOR BARU: Two councillors want disciplinary action to be taken against enforcement officers who bludgeoned stray dogs recently.

They also want a review of the procedures used to get rid of strays within the Central Johor Baru Municipal Council’s (MPJBT) jurisdiction.

Several councillors were shocked at the actions of the officers and said they would raise it with their council president.

Councillor Tan Tuan Peng said the actions of the enforcement staff tarnished the council’s image.
“We are a council with a 4-star rating. How can we condone such inhumane action by our enforcement staff?

“I hope action is taken on the officers,” he said in an interview.

Tan, who acknowledged that stray dogs were a problem, said there should be a more humane way to dispose of them, including using lethal injection.

He said it was time to reconsider a past proposal to neuter and release strays that had been rejected because of the high cost involved.

The Star had earlier reported on a video clip – showing enforcement staff inhumanely putting down stray dogs at the back of a warehouse in Jalan Makmur, Skudai – which had gone viral online.
Council president Sallehuddin Hassan admitted that the incident as a “terrible mistake” and said the council would take the matter seriously.

Third-term councillor S. Siva­sanmugam, who supported taking action against the officers, suggested a special committee be formed to tackle the matter.

Councillor Lim Soon Hai said that while he had been getting complaints about strays the past two months, he did not expect them to be culled in an inhumane way.

Malaysian Animal Welfare Society president Shenaaz Khan said punitive action must be taken against animal abusers including the council, enforcement officers and the dog catchers.

“While there is outrage at the council’s barbarism, it is not surpri­sing given that most councils em­­ploy torturous means of dealing with strays including shooting, starving, bludgeoning and even drowning,” she said, describing the whole episode as “cold-blooded murder.”
June 11, 2014

Massacring strays is wrong on every level

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/opinion/comment/2014/06/11/massacring-strays-is-wrong-on-every-level/ 

Malaysians must stand up and demand more humane methods be adopted to handle the issue of strays.

From: Anthony SB Thanasayan, President – PETPOSITIVE
 
The Malaysian Animal-Assisted Therapy for the Disabled and Elderly Association is outraged over last week’s bludgeoning to death of stray dogs with metal rods by enforcement officers from the Johor Baru Central Municipal Council (MPJBT).

Any loving and caring Malaysian cannot comprehend much less accept, that such a brutal and barbaric act is still being deployed on defenseless animals by and in our society.

What more when such a despicable evil act is sanctioned by a local municipality.

Although we welcome the fact that MPJBT quickly took responsibility for such cruelty, we feel terribly uneasy about the fact that it took an expose from an amateur’s camera to uncover this cruel practice that has obviously been going on away from the public eye for who knows how long.

MPJBT should leave no stone unturned in its investigation of the matter. Whoever is responsible, must be brought to book, even if he is a higher-ranking official.

Apart from the MPJBT, the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) should also conduct a thorough investigation, as what happened to these canines is clearly an act of torture and extreme cruelty.

MPJBT must set up a pound for strays. Unwanted animals caught off the streets should be housed there for at least a week for owners of lost dogs and cats to claim them after paying fines for being irresponsible owners.

Sick dogs should be put down immediately and humanely and only by a qualified veterinarian or a vet-trained officer.

Dogs that are healthy should be given a chance to be re-homed at the pound before a decision is finally made to put it down.

Councils must start budgeting for a pound and euthanasia medication. Ideally all pounds should employ a veterinarian to look into these matters.

If they cannot start out immediately with one, they should work together with the DVS for standard operation procedures when it comes to managing stray animals.

Councils that are smart will set up regular meetings on stray management. It should include all the relevant departments within the council, the DVS and local animal welfare NGOs for ideas.

For a more holistic approach, all local councils should conduct campaigns on responsible pet ownership among pet owners. This should include seminars, awards for best dogs and owners, pet training and spaying programmes involving local veterinarians and the DVS to effectively reduce stray populations.

Two good local councils with this experience are the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) and the Klang Municipality (MPK).

If all these are not followed through, just finding the culprits and punishing them will only be a knee jerk reaction.

June 12, 2014

Reports lodged over killing of stray dogs

http://www.nst.com.my/node/1993 

FIFTEEN individuals and four non-governmental organisations lodged reports at Skudai police station yesterday against the Johor Baru Central Municipal Council (MPJBT) over its treatment of stray dogs here.

Malaysia Independent Animal Rescue (MIAR), Johor Baru Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Companion Animal Rescue Effort Society (Cares) and Petpositive were the four NGOs that lodged the police reports.

Among the individuals who lodged the report was G. Suhanthan, 28, who had on June 9 made the first police report after witnessing the incident of MPJBT officers bludgeoning seven strays to death with an iron rod.

Suhanthan had recorded the horrific event on video and uploaded it onto Facebook.

He claimed that so far no investigating officer had contacted him even though the video clip went viral on the Internet.

MIAR founder and president Puspa Rani, who was also at the police station, said MIAR has received numerous emails from animal lovers nationwide.

"As far as I know, about 30 police reports have been lodged over the video from animal lovers throughout the country.

"Which is why I am here today," she said after lodging the report at the Skudai police station.

Puspa also said it is a criminal offence under Section 428 and 429 of the Penal Code which states that an offence is committed if "a person commits mischief by killing, poisoning, maiming, or rendering useless any animal of the value of five ringgit or upwards". The offence is punishable with an imprisonment of two years, or fine, or both.

"No dog catchers can kill a stray in any manner without a certified veterinarian.

"Even if the dog is put to sleep by lethal injection, only a veterinarian knows the lethal dosage," she said.

Puspa said that if she failed to get a satisfactory response from the council or relevant agency, she will be bringing the matter up to the complaints bureau in the Prime Minister's Department.

Puspa further said representatives from the Department of Veterinary Service (DVS), who were also at the police station, had told her that the MPJBT did not have a veterinarian.

"So how were the strays put to sleep in Johor over the years?" asked Puspa.

The DVS representatives, however, declined to comment on the matter. A call to the DVS office to get the comment of the department's director also proved fruitless.

MPJBT also could not be reached for comment.

MPJBT corporate and public relations department administrative officer Salwa Abd Rashid was quoted as saying that the council did not shoot nor clobber strays to death.

On Monday, MPJBT when contacted, had said that they would investigate the matter.

June 12, 2014

Ops to catch stray dogs put on hold 

http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2014/06/12/Ops-to-catch-stray-dogs-put-on-hold-MPJBT-to-reach-a-decision-at-next-meeting/ 

JOHOR BARU: The operation to catch stray dogs will be put on hold amidst continuing public outcry over cruelty in the putting down of the animals.

A decision would be made at the next full council meeting on whether action would be taken against officers involved, said Johor Baru Central Municipal Council (MPJBT) president Sallehuddin Hassan.

The MPJBT came under fire after a video clip showing enforcement staff bludgeoning stray dogs at the back of a warehouse in Jalan Mak­mur, Skudai, went viral recently.

“People should understand that these are not stray cats but aggressive dogs. The public also found the dogs a nuisance in their neighbourhoods. The dogs were not killed in a public space.

“The council has the right to put such stray dogs to sleep. However, I do not deny the way it was done was indeed regrettable,” said Sallehuddin.

He added that he did not know how the dogs were killed until the video surfaced on June 5.

It is believed that the MPJBT department in charge of stray dogs had found it hard to obtain supplies for injections – which is usual­ly used to put down stray dogs.

Checks by The Star at the warehouse, where the brutal culling took place, showed no signs that it was still being conducted.

However, dogs could be heard barking within the premises while enforcement officers were seen entering the warehouse area.

Various non-governmental organisations and at least 10 people have lodged police reports over the incident.

“It is unacceptable that no firm action has been taken against the officials,” said Malaysian Independent Animal Rescue (MIAR) president T. Puspa Rani, who is also the representative of the group, during a press conference at the Johor Baru Central police headquarters here.

She added charges could be made under Sections 428 and 429 of the Penal Code for mischief against animals.

June 13, 2014

Act against the enforcement officers 

http://www.thestar.com.my/Opinion/Letters/2014/06/13/Act-against-the-enforcement-officers/ 

I REFER to the article, “Ops to catch stray dogs put on hold” (The Star, June 12).

It is only proper that the Johor Bahru Tengah Municipal Council (MPJBT) put a stop to catching strays pending a full review of the manner in which the strays are caught and the animals are put down.

The way the strays were bludgeoned to death at the back of a warehouse by enforcement personnel of the local authority concerned had resulted in a public outcry over the cruelty in the putting down of the animals.

The manner of killing the strays was barbaric and it is totally unacceptable.

I am not disputing the fact that the local authority has a responsibility to catch strays based on public complaints and that it has the right to put aggressive animals to sleep as a last resort.

What I am totally against is the cruel and inhumane manner exercised by the enforcement personnel concerned in putting down the animals.

I am not only directing my comment to MPJBT alone but all other local authorities over the matter concerning cruelty to animals.

I wish to suggest that before putting down any stray animal, the local authority concerned must consult the Veterinary Services Department in the respective state on the best course of action to be taken as it is the authority on the subject of animal welfare.

While the MPJBT president must be applauded for admitting that the inhumane killings of the strays was a mistake, what he should do is to take appropriate action against the enforcement officer concerned.

He must not get away scot-free after having committed an act of extreme cruelty against a living creature.

The person responsible for committing the act of cruelty against the animal should be charged under the Animal (Amendment) Act 2013 or under Sections 428 and 429 of the Penal Code for mischief against animals.


TAN SRI LEE LAM THYE
Kuala Lumpur

June 17, 2014


Council put down 1,181 stray dogs from January until May 

http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Community/2014/06/17/Acting-on-complaints-Council-put-down-1181-stray-dogs-from-January-until-May/ 

JOHOR BARU: The Johor Baru Central Municipal Council (MPJBT) has put down a total of 1,181 dogs in the first five months of this year.
MPJBT president Sallehuddin Hassan said stray dogs causing a nuisance was one of the most common complaints received by the council.

“Up until May this year, we received a total of 313 complaints about stray dogs from people who said they posed a threat to their safety.

“In fact, we often get scolded by residents who question why we are not taking action, and if we are waiting for someone to be bitten before doing something,” he said.

The council has been under the spotlight following a video of its officials bludgeoning stray dogs to death at the back of a warehouse in Jalan Makmur, Skudai.

Sallehuddin said that there were also many instances where council officials were bitten or injured by the strays during their operations.

“It is a tough job that our enforcement team has volunteered to do, as catching dogs is not part of their official duties,” he said.

Sallehuddin said that in 2013, the council received 997 complaints on stray dogs and had put down 2,524.

“In 2012, we received 1,135 cases on stray dogs and put down 2,345 of them,” he said, adding that he was unsure of the method used to kill the dogs.

Sallehuddin said that the standard operating procedure used to capture and put the stray dogs to sleep would be reviewed and the job outsourced.

June 19, 2014

DVS Awaiting Police Findings On Alleged MPJBT Cruelty 

http://petpositive.blogspot.com/ 

DATELINE PUTRAJAYA:

INVESTIGATIONS BY THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERINARY SERVICES (DVS) of  alleged cruelty by a local council in Johor is now fully underway. 

This message was conveyed to PETPOSITIVE by an official from the DV just over an hour ago. 

No stone will be left uncovered, the representative assured us over the issue of brutal killings of strays said to have been committed by the enforcement staff of the Johor Baru municipality central council or MPJBT.

The matter was first highlighted on Facebook by the animal rescue group MIAR when someone had passed over an amateur video recording of the incident to the NGO. The footage went viral before PETPOSITIVE joined MIAR and three other animal NGOs to make a police report in Skudai, Johor against the local council. (See here for details: Police Opens File on Animal Cruelty Case by Johor Central Council 

PETPOSITIVE subsequently issued a strong press statement to the media urging the DVS to act on the allegation. 

DVS confirmed the following today: 


  • DVS has conducted an interview with the amateur photographer
  • DVS is fully aware that the video footage is now with the forensics department and will work closely with the police as they investigate the matter.
  • DVS is also looking into the matter of working with a strict Standard Operating Procedure with MPJBT in all future stray management programmes.    
  
On another note, the DVS rep said the new Animal Welfare Bill is making its way through Parliament without any glitches. 


If all goes well, it will be out by the end of this year, making it much easier for DVS to work with local councils on humane animal treatment.  

What MPJBT said in 2013
 
Feb 25, 2013


JOHOR BARU: The Johor Baru Central Municipal Council (MPJBT) are hoping to lessen aggressive stray animals on the streets by working with a non-governmental organisation (NGO) to pick up and neuter dogs and cats.

MPJBT president Md Fuzi Ahmad Shahimi admitted that the stray dogs and cats problems has been ongoing for quite some time based on the number of complaints received from the public.

He hoped that there would be a positive impact after collaborating with Homeless and Orphan Pets Exist (Hope) Shelter to spay and neuter the strays and release them back to the streets.

“We have taken measures to curb the matter before this but they have proved to be ineffective including shooting the animals, which was ceased in 2010 after protest from animal lovers,” he said.

A volunteer from the shelter Shirley Lam, said on an average, a female dog gives birth up to 16 puppies a year while cats give birth to 12 kittens a year.

“Imagine the number of stray puppies and kittens that are born per year. So neutering before releasing them back to the streets can lessen the overpopulation of strays in those areas.

“Studies have also showed that neutered animals are less aggressive as they are usually more calm and will not go after people,” she said.

She added that the neutered animals would be marked by nipping the tip of their ear to show that they have been neutered.

Lam added that it costs between RM100 and RM250 to spay dogs and about RM20 cheaper to neuter cats.

Meanwhile, MPJBT councillor Jason Teoh said the measure was a more feasible measure compared to shooting or killing them.

“We received about 3,000 complaints from residents under the council’s jurisdiction in their housing areas and near schools since 2009,” he said, adding that areas with high population of strays are Skudai, Taman Ungku Tun Aminah, Taman Universiti.

He added that the council aimed to spay or neuter 500 stray dogs and 200 stray cats within its area this year.

Besides that, Teoh, who is also Gelang Patah MCA division chief, also said for a start, the party would sponsor the spaying of 100 stray cats and dogs.