Tuesday, March 9, 2010

More on dog pounds from Malaysian Dogs Deserve Better

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Animal pounds ordered to clean up their act
by Meena L. Ramadas

SUBANG JAYA (March 2, 2010): The Selangor government has instructed all municipal councils to “clean up their act” concerning the management of animal pounds.

State executive councillor for health, estate workers' affairs, poverty eradication and caring government Dr Xavier Jayakumar said today all municipal councils have been told to maintain the cleanliness of the pounds, work with the Veterinary Services Department under the Agriculture Ministry and that officers have to treat sick animals and follow guidelines on euthanising them.

He said the recent spate of media reports on the poor condition of local council pounds had resulted in checks made to the Selayang Municipal Council (MPS), Klang Municipal Council (MPK) and Ampang Jaya Municipal Council (MPAJ) pounds.

“The reports about the MPK pound was found to be not true,” he said, after launching a workshop organised by Canine Advisory Team (CAT) on the management of stray animals and pets in Selangor at the Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ).

“As far as MPS is concerned, we have informed the health section of the council to make the necessary changes,” he said.

A blog posting revealed that a dozen dogs had died in the MPS pound over the last one week due to mismanagement and slacking of caretaking duties.

Jayakumar said the state is working to streamline animal licensing guidelines across municipal and city councils.

He said the licensing guidelines vary across councils and the state intends to create a uniform set of guidelines to be practised by all councils.

“We are looking into the differences among the councils’ guidelines and we will consider all sensitivities,” he added.

He said the guidelines have been in place for a significant amount of time under the Local Government Act and changes take “a bit of time”.

Jayakumar said the state is also studying total procedural matters concerning the way in which animals are treated in municipal council pounds after receiving complaints on the management of pounds and animals.

He said the public should expect more information soon about a centralised pound to be established by the state.

Jayakumar said the facility requires at least two hectares and the only available land is in Sepang.

“I have plans for it and I have also spoken to consultants on ways to establish a environmentally-friendly facility,” he said.

“I am thinking about hiring veterinarian officers and veterinarian animal assistants as well as members of non-governmental organisations to educate owners on pet management.”

Meanwhile, the forum organised by CAT yielded five recommendations: local councils to work together with the veterinary department and officers, local councils to cooperate with NGOs on catching strays, microchipping for easy ownership identification, educating pet owners and more stringent licensing laws.

A total of 12 local councils participated in the forum. -- theSun

Councils and animal welfare groups must work together
Yia Zhi Jern and Stephanie Augustin

RAWANG (March 2, 2010): A non-governmental organisation (NGO) wants greater cooperation between animal welfare groups and local councils in dealing with the alleged mismanagement of pounds.

Malaysian Animal-Assisted Therapy for the Disabled and Elderly Association (Petpositive) and Canine Advisory Team (CAT) president Anthony Thanasayan said both parties have to work together to ensure animal welfare.

He was responding to the recent case of alleged mistreatment of dogs at the Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) pound in Rawang.

The case came to light when the NGO, Malaysian Dogs Deserve Better (MDDB), posted eyewitness accounts and photos on its blog on Feb 21. The photographs of dog carcasses, diseased dogs and tick-infested kennels outraged many animal lovers.

Following this, several other parties, including the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), MPS councillor Gunarajah George, and Petpositive's Thanasayan, who is also Petaling Jaya city councillor, visited the pound.

"It is not true that the pound is a hellhole. I’ve been to the pound and the dogs had food and clean water. I don’t know what happened before but today it looked okay," said Thanasayan who visited the pound on Feb 24.

However, he admits there could be negligence. "They have probably 60% knowledge required to look after the pound. The caretaker, who has come under fire, is actually knowledgeable in pound management as she attends CAT meetings on dog care," he added.

Thanasayan believes in engaging the council instead of hurling accusations at them.

"Clearly MPS needs help – they have admitted so. The council has immediately implemented some of the guidelines we submitted to them while some others will start in a month," said Thanasayan.

Some of the guidelines the council has decided to implement immediately include not entering compounds during operations, to stop catching puppies and unlicensed but collared dogs.

He said MPS Director of Health and Licensing Dr Razif Zainol Abidin had told him the pound would put in place measures to improve the situation within the next month.

These measures include separating strays and pets, looking into nutrition and canine healthcare, as well as euthanising strays.

Gunarajah, when contacted, said MPS will also form a committee involving representatives from the Health Department, MPS, Department of Veterinary Services (DVS), Petpositive, MDDB and SPCA to monitor the pound.

Meanwhile, MPS and DVS have both launched separate inquiries into the Selayang pound situation. -- theSun

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