Hor­ror of hor­rors

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - INSIGHT -

Here are some of the an­i­mal abuse cases which brought un­wel­come at­ten­tion from the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity.

SPCA Se­lan­gor se­nior res­i­dent vet Dr Lim Suit Fun shakes her head sadly as she re­calls past an­i­mal abuse cases through­out her ca­reer.

Count­less new­born or weeks-old pup­pies and kit­tens dumped in drains and parks, that had died in the cold of the night; stray dogs with rusty thin wires – em­bed­ded in in­fected wounds – hooped around their necks by dog catch­ers; a lit­tle Spitz that was a bun­dle of skin and bones with sand in its stom­ach.

“I have stopped think­ing that a par­tic­u­lar case is the worst as I know an­other is just around the cor­ner. I have stopped be­ing shocked at the cru­elty hu­man be­ings can in­flict upon a help­less an­i­mal,” she says.

“A dog, no mat­ter how badly it has been treated, would still wag its tail and look at us with trust­ing eyes.

“When I have to eu­thanise an an­i­mal that is suf­fer­ing, it will qui­etly fol­low me into the op­er­at­ing room, wag­ging its tail. An as­sis­tant holds up its front legs and I’d quickly in­sert a nee­dle into a mus­cle. It’s an over­dose of anaes­the­sia, so it’s like flip­ping a switch and the dog just goes to sleep and never wakes up.”

Some cases of an­i­mal cru­elty in Malaysia made head­lines as far as Amer­ica and Europe be­cause they were so ap­palling. Be­low are some cases which brought the coun­try into the spot­light for all the wrong rea­sons:

Hor­ror pet ho­tel

Over 300 cats boarded at Pet­kn­ode in Da­mansara Da­mai, Se­lan­gor, dur­ing the re­cent Hari Raya hol­i­days were ne­glected, lead­ing to the death of 13 cats. The pet own­ers re­turned to find that their cats were left to starve in their cages, and cov­ered in their own waste. The case has yet to be pros­e­cuted as the pet ho­tel own­ers have run away.

Cat killer

A 21-year-old wo­man was caught on video prod­ding three stray kit­tens with an um­brella and stomp­ing them to death in a back­lane. The video went vi­ral and the wo­man was iden­ti­fied as Chow Xiao Wei, dubbed the Kit­ten Killer of Ser­dang, Se­lan­gor. Chow cited men­tal dis­tress from fam­ily prob­lems and apol­o­gised pub­licly af­ter she was fined RM400.

Trig­ger-happy of­fi­cials

In May, some 50 stray dogs in Ba­hau, Ne­gri Sem­bi­lan, were shot on the streets by en­force­ment of­fi­cers in an op­er­a­tion ini­ti­ated by the Jem­pol district of­fice, de­spite a clear di­rec­tive from Depart­ment of Vet­eri­nary Ser­vices (DVS) di­rec­tor-gen­eral Datuk Dr Ab­dul Aziz Ja­malud­din to use only nets, tran­quilis­ers, loops and strain­ers to catch strays.

Lo­cal coun­cils have con­ducted count­less culling ex­er­cises in other states. Many of the dogs died slow, painful deaths, as the work­ers are un­trained.

Also in May, Batu Pahat Mu­nic­i­pal Coun­cil work­ers were caught on video drag­ging a stray dog across the street and ad­min­is­ter­ing an in­jec­tion on it. The dog was yelp­ing in pain for more than five min­utes be­fore the sec­ond in­jec­tion was given. (Two sep­a­rate in­jec­tions con­tain­ing dif­fer­ent drugs are usu­ally given to eu­thanise a dog within sec­onds.)

Later in the same month, Cen­tral Jo­hor Baru Mu­nic­i­pal Coun­cil work­ers shot land- scape su­per­vi­sor Tan Sek Khang’s un­li­censed dog on the street as it fol­lowed him and his son to school. The dog ran back to Tan’s house but the work­ers chased af­ter it and dragged it from the gar­den onto the street where they shot it a sec­ond time.

Sushi the poo­dle

On Jan 21, a video went vi­ral on Face­book of a man us­ing brute force on a toy poo­dle to force it to stand on its hind legs. The dog named Sushi was shaken and flung against the wall when it could not per­form the trick. Peo­ple for the Eth­i­cal Treat­ment of An­i­mals (Peta) of­fered a RM6,000 re­ward for the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and ar­rest of the man. He has yet to be found.

Pu­lau Ke­tam cast­aways

In late 2009, Pu­lau Ke­tam res­i­dents rounded up over 300 strays and dumped them on nearby un­in­hab­ited is­lands. Starv­ing and dy­ing of thirst, the dogs can­ni­balised the weak­est ones to sur­vive. Some swam to nearby ke­longs only to be tossed back to sea by work­ers. The luck­ier ones were even­tu­ally res­cued and re-homed.

Hell-holes at dog pounds

For years, dog pounds op­er­ated by lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal coun­cils such as the Se­layang Mu­nic­i­pal Coun­cil have come un­der fire for the mis­treat­ment of an­i­mals rounded up by its work­ers. Pho­tographs of car­casses tossed in garbage dumps, and groups of wet and mis­er­able dogs hud­dling in tick-in­fested cells en­raged many. Each time the is­sue sur­faced, the au­thor­i­ties vis­ited the pound and said they saw no neg­li­gence.

In March 2010, DVS deputy di­rec­tor-gen­eral Dr Ah­mad Suhaimi Omar sug­gested at a fo­rum on ef­fec­tive an­i­mal pound man­age­ment or­gan­ised by the Petaling Jaya City Coun­cil’s Ca­nine Ad­vi­sory Team, that those with a pen­chant for ex­otic meat should be al­lowed to buy dogs from pounds for con­sump­tion.

“Do we have to keep the dogs at the pounds for­ever? They are an­i­mals, just like chick­ens or goats,” he was re­ported as say­ing ( The Sun, March 7, 2010).

Sheena

En­gi­neer Dou­glas Lien San Chong moved to a new house in Subang Jaya, Se­lan­gor, in 2005, leav­ing his Ger­man Shep­herd to guard his old prop­erty. When DVS of­fi­cers seized Sheena, she had to be eu­thanised as she was suf­fer­ing from mal­nu­tri­tion and se­vere tick fever. A post-mortem re­vealed an empty stom­ach and shrunken kid­neys, in­di­cat­ing pro­longed star­va­tion.

Lien said in mit­i­ga­tion that he had been “too busy with per­sonal mat­ters and house mov­ing” to look af­ter the ca­nine.

“The dog was al­ready old and sickly any­way,” he said.

Mag­is­trate Hafizah Ab­dul Ra­jak fined him RM100, which he paid promptly. – ChinMui Yoon

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