I refer to KJ John’s article ‘Dog-catching - an art or science? (Malaysiakini, June 18, 2013)
It is most unfortunate that the writer was disturbed by stray dogs a couple of times during his walk in Taman Aman park in Petaling Jaya recently. We are, however, relieved and happy that no harm had befallen him or anyone else in the park by the dogs.
In fact, other than Mr John, we have received no other complaints on the particular strays to date in the area.
The issue was dealt with by councillor for the area Jeyaseelen Anthony and I, where we personally interacted with the complainant.
As the writer had pointed out, one out of the three strays was caught on the second visit by Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) dog-catchers to the area. A third visit revealed the dogs were no longer in the area.
It is very important to note that catching strays is not at all an easy task to accomplish by any dog-catchers from any councils when an animal is in an open field.
(There is no mystery to this fact as it can be seen in any of the animal rescue programmes on TV conducted in overseas countries. Often rescuers have to come back time and time again to the same scene over several days before a successful catch can be made.)
MBPJ’s dog-catchers are trained by some of the world’s best humane dog trainers from international organisations. Not only that, we are humbled that they have been regarded as one of the most humane local council dogcatchers by some local animal welfare groups.
They attend regular refresher courses on dog-catching and have participated in joint animal control programmes with Majlis Perbandaran Klang (MPK). Other dog-catching teams such as the Majlis Perbandaran Pulau Pinang (MPPP) and Majlis Bandaraya Ipoh (MBI) have visited MBPJ for joint learning trips on stray management.
MBPJ dog-catchers catch about 100 dogs each month which are immediately handed over the PAWS Animal Shelter in Subang.
MBPJ pays RM20 for each dog, puppy, cat and kitten that is handed over to PAWS.
At last year’s World Animal Day celebrations, MBPJ specially recognised their dog-catchers for their intrepid and selfless work in keeping the city safe from danger and disease - and at the same time for being humane in their handling of stray dogs and cats which included animals belonging to residents.
They not only catch dogs but they have been involved in rescuing animals, investigating cases or animal cruelty among residents and educating them.
Up-to-date humane instruments
The so-called ‘19th-century technology’ mockingly refers to equipment which MBPJ dogcatchers are trained to use, which are really special high-tech loops, ropes, nets, gloves, and cages which are up-to-date humane instruments designed to give the least discomfort and pain to the animals they catch. They are endorsed by international animal welfare organisations for animal management control.
MBPJ stopped the practice of shooting dogs years ago - an act that is deemed as cruel by the Department of Veterinary Services. Poisoning dogs is also totally disallowed and can land local councils that practise them in serious trouble. The using of darts can only be done by a qualified veterinarian.
In addition to animal control, MBPJ dog-catchers are also tasked to do fogging activities which are carried out on a daily basis.
MBPJ has also bought a new animal-friendly van with special gadgets to look into the comfort of the animals. It is used by the dog-catchers and will be inspected by the Department of
MBPJ is the only council that meets once a month to discuss and strategise on animal issues.
The meetings are attended by all the relevant bodies and members of other local councils in Selangor including DBKL. The Department of Veterinary Services, private veterinary associations and animal NGOs also sit in the committee.
Finally, we suggest that Mr John and any member of the public refrain from catching any stray dogs personally. As I pointed out it is a job for the professionals. It can also be extremely dangerous - not only for the untrained person attempting to do it but also for the animal itself.
ANTHONY SIVA BALAN THANAYASAN is chairperson, Canine Advisory Team, MBPJ.