A very big thank you to James Hogan of the Mayhew Animal Home for writing this letter....
Also published in MalaysiaKini
Tuesday November 18, 2008
Many complaints about KL’s dog catchers
I WOULD like to comment on the recent report of alleged cruel treatment of a stray dog by a team of dog catchers employed by the Subang Jaya Municipal Council but I would first like to explain why an international animal welfare organisation has taken an interest in this issue.
The Mayhew Animal Home & Humane Education Centre has been rescuing and caring for abandoned and unwanted animals in London since 1886 and today our work extends to places as far as Afghanistan, Russia, Romania and Algeria, where we advise city governments, provide special training for veterinarians and animal management personnel and promote best practice across a wide spectrum of animal welfare activity.
We have a network of contacts across the globe and in recent times we have received an increasing number of disturbing reports from Malaysia about the treatment of animals there, especially stray companion animals.
The latest report we have received from Kuala Lumpur is about the dog who was allegedly beaten and injured as he was apparently forced through the railings of a locked gate by dog catchers working for the Subang Jaya Municipal Council.
This is not the first time that concerns about KL’s dog catchers have been brought to our attention.
Apart from the complaints of local animal welfare activists in KL, we have also received a number of critical independent reports from contacts in Europe and Asia after they had visited Kuala Lumpur on business or as tourists.
The concerns raised include the excessively rough methods used by the dog catchers and the primitive conditions observed at the local dog pounds. From a purely professional point of view, I would be interested to know what selection procedures are applied when local councils recruit staff to carry out this work and, crucially, what level of training is provided?
Malaysia is a successful country that thrives on international commerce, tourism and the financial sector and has a right to be proud of its achievements in a fiercely competitive world.
However, Malaysia’s image abroad is in danger of being tarnished by the negative impressions left with visitors to Kuala Lumpur when they witness stray companion animals being treated without respect or compassion, especially when this is done by the very people officially responsible for them.
The Kuala Lumpur Tourism Action Council website waxes lyrical about the joys of visiting KL, exclaiming: “KL offers a wholly unique experience to visitors.”
As someone who has a great affection for Malaysia and its people, I am sad to say that the individuals who contact us about distressing animal welfare issues after they have visited KL make it very clear that they have had “a unique experience” that is very far removed from the image projected by the Tourism Action Council and is most assuredly one they do not wish to repeat.
Mayhew Animal Home &
Humane Education Centre, London.