Stop the shoot­ing

There is an ur­gent need for a Bill to pro­tect an­i­mals.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - LIFESTYLE -

THE sense­less and cruel shoot­ing of a ther­apy dog in Ipoh re­cently was a big set­back for Petpos­i­tive, an an­i­malas­sisted ther­apy or­gan­i­sa­tion for the dis­abled and el­derly.

The ca­nine, Spunk, was shot dead by the lo­cal coun­cil (MBI). Spunk be­longed to a 75year-old re­tired teacher liv­ing in Ta­man Merdeka.

The coura­geous ca­nine lived up to his name in ev­ery way. For 10 years, Spunk served as a faith­ful watchdog and kept his owner com­pany af­ter her hus­band passed away. Be­fore any­one – or any­thing, for that mat­ter – could even ap­proach the front gate, Spunk was al­ready there. This kept his owner safe and se­cure, es­pe­cially dur­ing the night.

Spunk was also the el­derly woman’s best de­fence against lone­li­ness. He pro­vided her with the mo­ti­va­tion to ex­er­cise as she had to take him for his daily walks.

From what I heard from the owner, Spunk was also very pop­u­lar with the neigh­bours. They all loved him.

In spite of her age, Spunk’s owner was a re­spon­si­ble pet owner. She would al­ways bring along tis­sues to pick up her dog’s poo when­ever they were out for walks.

How­ever, on the morn­ing of Oct 30, she for­got the tis­sues and went back into the house to get them, leav­ing Spunk at the gate.

Un­for­tu­nately, at that time the dog-shoot­ers were do­ing their rounds. See­ing their ve­hi­cle, Spunk pan­icked and fled for his life.

In­stead of ex­er­cis­ing dis­cre­tion in the sit­u­a­tion, they hunted down the dog and shot him in cold blood. They showed no mercy even though Spunk had a valid dog li­cence around his neck.

His death made a mock­ery of the laws of the land which re­quired that pet dogs be reg­is­tered.

To make mat­ters worse, the MBI quickly carted off the car­cass be­fore Spunk’s owner could see him. All that was left were traces of her best buddy’s blood splattered on the road.

Does the MBI re­alise what they have done? Not only have they robbed an el­derly per­son of a friend and com­pan­ion, but by cart­ing the an­i­mal away with­out al­low­ing her to see it, they have also de­nied her the chance to prop­erly grieve over the loss of her dog.

Now she is left alone in an empty house filled with mem­o­ries of Spunk.

And to think that we con­sider our­selves far su­pe­rior to other liv­ing things.

Even an­i­mals in the wild take time to grieve over a loss at the risk of be­ing con­sumed by preda­tors in the process.

This brings me to the sec­ond in­ci­dent: the pass­ing away of Dusty, one of the few ser­vice dogs in the coun­try.

Dusty passed away on Nov 6, and was buried in the com­pound of his home in a cen­tre for the dis­abled where he had served for the past 10 years.

The Golden Retriever was a source of joy and in­spi­ra­tion to the res­i­dents at the cen­tre.

“Dusty was trained to seek help from our neigh­bours in times of emer­gency,” said one of the res­i­dents at the cen­tre.

Last week, a group of an­i­mal rights ac­tivists – in­clud­ing the dis­abled in wheel­chairs – met up with Vet­eri­nary Ser­vices Depart­ment di­rec­tor-gen­eral Datuk Dr Ab­dul Aziz Ja­malud­din in Putrajaya.

Fol­low­ing the meet­ing, the DG agreed to an im­me­di­ate ban on dog-shoot­ing in the coun­try.

A protem An­i­mal Wel­fare Coun­cil will be con­vened next Thurs­day. It will be chaired by Dr Ab­dul Aziz, who had mooted the idea.

The coun­cil will cover all as­pects of an­i­mal wel­fare. Its main agenda is to push for the first-ever An­i­mal Wel­fare Bill to pro­tect all an­i­mals.

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