'Draw up guidelines on strays'

'Draw up guidelines on strays'
This cement wall is believed to have been erected recently to prevent the public from looking into the area where it was alleged that enforcement officers from the MPJBT had brutally killed a group of stray dogs.

PETALING JAYA - Both the Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Ministry and state governments must together come up with the necessary guidelines for enforcement officers when rounding up stray animals.

"They must follow proper procedure and not inflict any cruelty on animals," said Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) Selangor patron Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye.

Condemning the alleged killing of stray dogs by Johor Baru Central Municipal Council (MPJBT) enforcement officers with metal rods, Lee said the incident must be investigated and those found guilty of the act should be brought to justice.

"It is barbaric and unacceptable. Although the council has admitted that it was a mistake, those responsible must be acted upon," he said here yesterday.

Lee was commenting on a report of animal cruelty allegedly committed by MPJBT enforcement officers that was caught on video, which showed them inhumanely putting down the dogs at the back of a warehouse in Jalan Makmur, Skudai.

This latest incident involving animal cruelty, he added, was also a wake-up call for the Government to push for the Animal Welfare Bill.

"All this goes to show that the Bill must be introduced as early as possible before the end of the year. Make the necessary provisions in law to provide for animal welfare and stop all forms of cruelty.

"The Bill must make room for effective enforcement and severe penalty for those who violate the law," he pointed out.

The existing Animals Act 1953, Lee said, was obsolete and no longer provided for deterrent sentence against those who committed cruelty against animals.

Under Section 44(1) of the Animals Act 1953, those convicted of cruelty to animals face up to a RM200 (S fine or six months' jail or both.

In 2011, 24-year-old hawker Chow Xiao Wei was sentenced to RM200 in default of seven days' jail for each count after she pleaded guilty to two charges of abusing kittens near a shop at Seri Kembangan.

"The sentence is only a minimum fine and that is just a slap on the wrist today," said Lee.

MPJBT president Sallehuddin Hassan had recently admitted responsibility for the incident, describing it as a "terrible mistake".

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