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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

PROTEST OVER MPS' DOG HUNT

MEMORANDUM AND 2160 PETITION SIGNATURES HANDED OVER

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Protest held over MPS' dog-hunt
Andrew Ong; Sep 11, 07 2:32pm from Malaysia Kini

Some 50 animal lovers staged a peaceful protest outside the Selayang Municipal Council headquarters today against an on-going stray dog catching competition. The protest followed widespread criticism against MPS which is offering up to RM11,000 as a grand prize every six months to resident committees which nab the most number of stray dogs.

Led by four NGOs, the protestors chanted “Stop the hunt” and “Stop the cruelty” while holding placards condemning the competition. Later, they handed over a protest memorandum and some 2,000 signatures condemning the competition to a representative of MPS president Zainal Abidin Azim.

The public relations officer who accepted the memorandum on Zainal’s behalf said the matter would be discussed in the near future but declined to offer further comment.

Speaking to reporters later, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) chairperson Christine Chin said untrained civilians are unable to deal with strays and the competition instills wrong values in the public. “Local authorities have the resources to deal with strays. This competition is not the way to do it,” she said, adding that local authorities should instead impose fines on irresponsible pet owners and encourage spaying of pets.

In their memorandum, the groups said that spaying of pets has proven to be an effective method in controlling stray animal population. The groups also called for stiff penalties against those who dump their pets. They cite Singapore as an example where pet abandonment is an offence punishable by a one-year imprisonment and a S$10,000 fine.

The memorandum was initiated by the SPCA and endorsed by the Malaysian Association for Responsible Pet Ownership (Marpo), Malaysian Animal-Assisted Therapy for the Disabled and Elderly Association (Petpositive) and the Malaysian Animal Rights and Welfare Association (Roar).

The press conference by the four NGOs was later punctuated by heckling from an unidentified individual (below) who was seen mingling with MPS enforcement officers. The heckler loudly accused the groups present of being “opposition supporters” and that they were inconsiderate to victims of stray dog attacks. Several protestors responded in anger towards the heckler but were held back by other protestors.

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Animal lovers protest against contest by Llew-Ann Phang from The Sun Online

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.

Helda declined comment, saying the MPS president would be the best person to speak on the matter.

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