2007/09/10 Council’s dog move ‘ridiculous’ By : Mazlinda Mahmood
N. Surendran (left) says competition won’t solve stray dog problem. Dr Lynnette Low says even professionals get hurt
Natasha Valerie Fernz says dogs’ natural reaction is to bite
PETALING JAYA: The Selayang Municipal Council is in the dog house. Voices chanting "save the strays" and "stop the hunt" filled Central Park 1 Utama yesterday as animal lovers protested its controversial dog-catching competition.
Their concern goes out not only to the dogs but also to the untrained people who risk injury trying to catch them.
An animal rights advocate, lawyer N. Surendran, said the competition would not solve the problem of stray dogs.
"The only proven way to solve the problem is a comprehensive spaying campaign, coupled with a public education programme to teach owners to neuter their pets and not to abandon them," he said, suggesting a discount on the licence fee to dog owners who neuter their pets.
He said stray dogs must be caught by trained professional dog catchers under the supervision of veterinarians.
Untrained people could get hurt and unintentionally open themselves to charges of cruelty to animals. And if the animals have to be put down, it must be done humanely by lethal injection, he added."The local council is committing the offence of cruelty to animals and exposing the public to danger. Who’s going to be liable if someone is bitten? The council could be sued and taxpayers would have to foot the bill. This is ridiculous," he said.
Paws veterinarian Dr Lynnette Low and pet rescuer Natasha Valerie Fernz agreed.
Showing the marks on her arms, Low said: "Even professionals get hurt when they deal with dogs, what more untrained people?"
"When dogs are cornered, their natural reaction is to bite. Then people will blame the dogs and say they should be destroyed," chimed in Fernz.
Both are concerned that the RM78,000 a year in prize money the council has allocated would encourage people to trap pet dogs as well as strays.
The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) started the swelling chorus of protests recently, slamming the council for organising the competition. Yesterday’s demonstration was part of a larger campaign by an unofficial coalition of animal lovers and pet rescuers.
A petition has been started. Tomorrow, animal rights groups will be at the council to hand over a memorandum of protest calling for an end to the competition.
In Sin Chew Jit Poh Metro Front Page 10/09/07