GEORGE TOWN: Three animal lovers created a dramatic scene when they got down to bow three times after every nine steps in a protest march here.
They did this to appeal to the state government to stop the killing of stray dogs and allow public adoption of the animals.
The trio were part of an independent animal rights activist group that also wanted the state government to include the spaying of strays.
Walking 2km from Jalan Sungai to Komtar, they submitted a two-page memorandum to Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.
They were accompanied, during the two-hour journey, by about 50 people holding placards and chanting words such as "Stop Killing, Start Spaying".
The Chief Minister's information officer Zahar Zainul, who received the memorandum from organiser A. Vaneytha, said they would look into the matter.
Callie Hor, 48, who was one of the three animal lovers, said their act was symbolic in Chinese custom to asking for mercy and compassion.
"I knelt down and bowed three times for every nine steps that I took to ask for mercy on behalf of the dogs," she said.
"Nine means dog in Chinese and it is believed that when you do that, you are shortening your own life to ask the gods for compassion.
"I am willing to do that for the dogs," she told reporters yesterday.
Vaneytha claimed that the killing of strays was still going on despite the state's order to stop the culling on Oct 9.
"Why isn't the state allowing public adoption of strays from the Penang City Island Council (MBPP) pounds?" she asked.
She also suggested that the state helped to set up a team to support the NGOs that were willing to execute a mass "Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate, and Return/Re-home" programme.
MBPP Stray and Abandoned Dogs Sub-committee chairman S. Sukumar, who is all for the adoption of strays, said the public adoption had been suspended as a precaution.
"Even though there's been no new rabies cases, we are not in the clear yet," he said.
"To be rabies-free, there has to be no report for two years. We are accountable for the safety of the public, not the NGOs.
"If we allow the public to adopt, there is a risk of them contracting rabies which we do not want," he said when contacted.