'Dog fight' at MPS meet
Andrew OngSep 14, 07 4:39pm Malaysia Kini
Animal rights NGOs who were invited to a meeting with the Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) were in shock after being allegedly threatened with physical violence 10 minutes into the meeting.The incident started when five NGO representatives at the meeting were met with hostilities from both MPS and resident committee representatives.
Two NGO leaders, lawyer N Surendran and wheelchair-bound activist Anthony Thanasayan (above), have lodged separate reports on the incident at the Sentul district police headquarters today. The duo were among five individuals representing four NGOs during the meeting to discuss the controversial dog-catching competition organised by MPS. In Anthony’s police report, he said several MPS and resident committee representatives began hurling abuses at the NGO delegation, prompting all except for one NGO leader to leave the room.
At this juncture, one resident committee representative known only as Rashid, allegedly lunged at Malaysian Animal Rights and Welfare Association (Roar) president N Surendran with Anthony caught in the middle. “I’m on a wheelchair. I can’t run. I cannot protect myself. I was very scared,” said Anthony, who runs Malaysian Animal-Assisted Therapy for the Disabled and Elderly Association (Petpositive). Surendran said that although he was unhurt in the incident, he was certain that he would have been assaulted by Rashid had the latter not been restrained by others.
The two, said Rashid, had followed the group to the lobby of the MPS headquarters and that the latter’s antics didn’t stop there. Animal lover Lim Ann Nee (above), who was taking video footage of the scene at the lobby was allegedly hit on one arm several times with a booklet by Rashid. “I told him at least seven times ‘Don’t touch me!’. But he was chasing us away,” she said.
Human rights lawyer P Uthayakumar who attended the press conference questioned the motive of MPS inviting resident committee representatives to the meet.
“The meeting was only to involve animal lovers and the MPS. Why were outsiders brought in? Were they brought in to neutralise the animal lovers?” he asked. Similarly, Surendran said from the scenario, he can conclude that the alleged intimidation was a “planned attempt” at silencing the NGOs. Chairperson of the meeting and Rawang state assemblyperson Tang See Han denied that anyone was assaulted during the meeting.
“(But) there was a heated argument,” Tang conceded, when contacted. The meeting however continued after the minor scuffle as Society for the Prevention of Cruelty towards Animals (SPCA) chairperson Christine Chin did not leave the meeting. MPS decided during the meeting that the dog-catching competition would be scrapped and replaced with a long-term campaign in collaboration with SPCA.
14/09: MPS scraps controversial dog catching competition by Maria J. Dass The Sun.
The Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) today scrapped its controversial dog catching competition which offered a top prize of RM15,000 to the person who catches the most number of stray dogs.The competition, which also offered RM13,000 and RM11,000 as 2nd and 3rd prizes respectively, was part of MPS' campaign to rid the municipality of stray dogs.MPS' decision to scrap the competition was made in a meeting with animal rights group Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and the Veterinary Services Department.
Selangor Investment, industries and Commerce Committee chairman Datuk Tang See Hang, who chaired the meeting, said the competition had been scrapped but the campaign to rid the strays stays."MPS will now work closely with the SPCA and the Veterinary Services Department in the campaign," he added.Tang said the residents play an important part in the campaign, but after listening to the points presented, it seems apt that those who are chosen by the area representatives to be dog catchers should be trained."The MPS will also work closely with the SPCA to develop this training and education programme for people in the municipality," he added.
Tang said the MPS also agreed with the SPCA that it also needs to educate the public about responsible ownership to ensure that those who own dogs are informed about the spaying and neutering initiatives, and that they do not abandon their pets which are contributing causes to the increase in strays."We will ask our legal department to study the increase in penalty for dog owners who abandon their pets and the use of microchips to detect dogs and it’s registered owners."We will also be exploring SPCA's proposal to set up a clinic in the MPS where dog owners can bring in their pets to be spayed and neutered at minimal costs," said Tang, adding the council will visit the Kuala Lumpur City Hall to see how it manages its clinic and dog pound," said Tang.
Earlier, Veterinary Services Department (VSD) Surveillance Unit Head Dr Fadzilah Aini A.Kadir said people have to be trained to catch dogs and the VSD can be consulted on the proper ways to do it and to educate the public."We hope we will also be consulted before measures like this are implemented," she said.
Today’s meeting started on a heated note as representatives of two other organisations present - the Malaysian Animal Rights and Welfare Association (ROAR) and the Malaysian Association for Responsible Pet Ownership (MARPO) - walked out of the meeting after being told that it was a dialogue session and not a guarantee that the competition will be scrapped.
At the commencement of the dialogue, ROAR president N.Surendran said: "Our stand is the competition must stop. There is no indication of this, so we withdraw from this discussion."
As he stood up Kg Laksamana village head Rasheed Sultan Afshur, who was representing his area, shouted: "Jangan kurang ajar tahu (Don’t be rude, understand)."
Rasheed then stood up and rushed towards Surendran.As some of the councilors and those present tried to stop Rasheed, Surendran shouted: "Are you threatening me!"
The shouting match continued all the way to the lift lobby where Rasheed went after another animal activist who called him a gangster."Who said gangster, are you the one who called me gangster?" Rasheed demanded to know from one of the members leaving the premises. The group lodged a report against Rasheed at the Sentul district police headquarters in the afternoon.