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".