Crackdown on animal abusers

Crackdown on animal abusers

PUTRAJAYA: The Veterinary Services Department in Selangor has urged Malaysians to show more compassion for animals, after it revealed that a total of 1,038 animal abuse complaints were received last year.

“Of this number, 582 cases involved neglect. The number of animal abuse complaints we receive has been increasing at an alarming rate from 2020 to 2022” its spokesman said.

“We recorded 766 such cases in 2020. This increased to 868 cases in 2021, which is a 13% rise. So, we can see an increasing pattern of abuse, which boils down to a lack of compassion for our furry friends.”

He said under Section 29 of the Animal Welfare Act 2015, any person who commits an offence will be liable to a fine of not less than RM20,000 and not more than RM100,000, or imprisoned for a period three years, or both.

In the most recent case of animal abuse, police are investigating a case in which cat skeletons, internal organs and carcasses were discovered in a condominium unit in Bandar Sri Permaisuri, Cheras on March 11.

District police chief ACP Zam Halim Jamaluddin said a report on the incident was received on March 13 and an investigation paper has been opened under Section 428 of the Penal Code for mischief by killing or maiming animals.

The spokesman said considering the rising number of complaints, it will take stern action under the Act.

“It doesn’t matter who the perpetrator is. If one is caught abusing animals, the person will face the full brunt of the law.

“Anyone who commits an offence under the Act regardless of whether the person is a member of the public, veterinarian or local council worker. If they are found guilty, they will be prosecuted,” the spokesman said.

However, he added that while enforcement of the Act would not put an end to animal abuse, it will deter some from acting cruelly towards animals.

“The cooperation of veterinary authorities, local councils, educational institutions, animal protection associations, NGOs and the public is vital to stamp out animal abuse.

“In the meantime, it is important to educate the public against animal abuse through awareness campaigns and other public education drives. Everyone must come together to stamp out animal abuse,” he said.

PAWS Animal Welfare Society shelter manager Edward Lim said there is insufficient coverage of the severity of animal abuse in the media, including online portals, newspapers and radio.

“Whenever questions are raised on what constitutes animal abuse, the standard response (refers to) hitting animals and not providing them with adequate food.”

“Just preparing food and shelter is considered good enough for animals”, Lim said.

“Not many know what defines abuse and (care) to what extent is considered adequate.”

He added that animal abuse is ongoing because people are ignorant and stubborn as they think they can get away with it.

“It all comes down to the lack of awareness of animal welfare and the individual’s moral duty not to abuse animals even in a fit of anger.”

He suggested that to increase awareness and to curb abuse, suitable topics on animal welfare should be included in moral studies and religious classes in school.

“Animal welfare should be cultivated among Malaysians from a young age. However, I’ve never heard of any educational institution that includes such subjects as part of their education system.”

He said this is crucial as it is impossible to force someone to love or care for animals when they do not understand the importance of it in the first place.

On how PAWS handles abused and abandoned pets, Lim said: “If an animal is timid, it is best to give it time while continuing to feed it until it becomes calm and comfortable.”

Crackdown on animal abusers

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