Jojo is a black and tan female dog who loves to climb over her owner’s wall and hide under the concrete drain slabs in the alley. On April 10, between 12 noon to 1pm, she was spotted by Ampang Municipal Council (MPAJ) dogcatchers who went on to noose her. As her owner wasn’t in, a neighbour informed them that Jojo is owned.
The dogcatchers told the neighbour they were acting on a ‘complaint’ about Jojo. The complaint wasn’t defined in detail. Jojo who is so elusive and petrified of humans?
That evening her owner came back and couldn’t find Jojo. The next day we still didn’t see her. On behalf of her owner, my friend rang up Rizal from Bahagian Kesihatan who confirmed he was in charge of yesterday’s dog-catching operations. Here comes the twist.
He remembered Jojo but didn’t noose her because she escaped. When my friend insisted she wanted to check out the dogs caught yesterday, he tersely informed her all the dogs were brought to Klang yesterday evening itself ‘ untuk dibunuh ’ following his superior’s orders. We, the people, are not allowed to go there. He coldly added, ‘ Lagipun, tu semua anjing kurap dan liar !’
His superior, the council’s deputy environmental health officer, informed a journalist last year that the setting up of a dog pound had been delayed due to the high costs involved which he put at RM50,000 – RM60,000. Is MPAJ eradicating strays in this nauseating and vulgar approach as a humane service to community? No holding period or humane considerations would be granted to these hapless and homeless animals? How do we go about claiming pets, which have been mistaken for strays and caught by municipalities without pounds?
Municipal councils such as Kajang and Klang do not have dog-pounds. Where are the caught animals kept if they are unable to killed right away? I have heard of frightful and violent stories about councils and their dog-catching contractors. Some dogcatchers make a trip to the council to claim money for their catch only when the van is filled up with dogs. As it might take days or weeks for the van to be filled up, dogs caught earlier would have died of hunger, thirst, fights and puppies trampled to death. Fierce dogs have been bashed to death with a stick.
Another question follows. Is Rizal a qualified animal medical officer to make out clearly at one sweeping glance between mangy and non-mangy dogs? Would he have known if a particular owned mangy dog was undergoing skin treatment and just happened to stroll out for a while? Is he experienced enough to recognise if an animal is a stray or a house pet? A very relevant question: how are the ‘semua anjing kurap dan liar’ put down? Is this mass euthanasia supervised by a qualified animal medical officer?
The bottom line is humans caused the existence of strays through their irresponsible pet- ownership. It is in short the human wrongs that need managing. These strays, cats or dogs, (through no fault of their own) admittedly do have an adverse impact on the public health, safety, welfare and environment. Mandatory sterilisation is the most effective, economical, humane and ethical solution to the problem of unwanted cats and dogs lacking permanent homes. It arrests unwanted births too. This will seek to promote the health, safety, welfare and environment of the people considerably.
Till today, we are still crazy with worry as Jojo is still missing. Maybe, she went on a one way trip to Klang. To the ‘animal judges and executioners’ of our local municipal councils, I leave you with this quotation by Pierre Troubetzkoy to ponder over: ‘Why should man expect his prayer for mercy to be heard by what is above him when he shows no mercy to what is under him?’
Animals are mental creatures which have beliefs and desires, memories and expectations; who feel pleasure and pain, experience emotions. Like us.