IPOH - The Tanjung Malim District Council has bitten off more than it can chew over its campaign to pay RM10 (S$3.64) for each stray dog. Its office was flooded with complaints.
The Ipoh Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals (ISPCA), with the help of state executive councillor Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon, managed to stop the campaign, which was to have kicked off yesterday until June 12.
Council president Khairil Akhtar Ghazali said the campaign, which had caused an uproar over social media, was a trial project.
"We never have the intention to harm the animals. We have received a lot of complaints about stray dogs chasing children which led to them falling down and getting hurt. We just wanted to reduce the number of complaints and get the public to help us," said Khairil Akhtar at his office here yesterday.
The number of complaints involving stray dogs in the district with a population of about 20,000 people had increased from 54 in 2012 to 63 last year, he said.
The council, said Khairil Akhtar, was only carrying out duties according to Government's guidelines, which meant that all stray dogs caught were handed over to the Veterinary Department.
"Whatever we do, we take into consideration views from the public. If this is not what they wanted, we stop the programme," he said, expressing hope that animal NGOs could instead suggest to them "workable methods" to tackle the complaints.
The campaign, said Khairil Akhtar, was also a pilot project to raise public awareness on the danger of stray dogs.
"Even in the place I live in, there are stray dogs too but because they are used to us, they don't chase us. When strangers come, they chase and that's when problems arise," said Khairil Akhtar.
Dog catching drive pounded
TANJUNG MALIM - Some residents here may agree that there are too many stray dogs but even they do not feel that the Tanjung Malim District Council's "One Dog RM10" campaign is feasible.
Barber Liew Pet Tiong, 56, from Taman Wawasan, said the public would not have the proper equipment to catch these strays.
"I wouldn't even catch one if they are paying me RM100. What if people got bitten in the process? I also feel that it's not easy to catch these stray dogs even if we have equipment. Liew said he had been chased by stray dogs before, adding that he could have been bitten then.
He also said called on those who "loved" dogs to be more responsible, adding that they should not abandon these animals in the streets when they could no longer care for them.
A Politeknik Sultan Azlan Shah student, who only identified himself as Wan, said most Muslims would not touch the dogs - let alone catch them.
"I've seen (the dogs) wandering around my housing area, looking for food in garbage bins but they are not aggressive," said the 20-year-old.
Mechanic Tan Kah Chun, 27, a professed dog lover, said the campaign was not the right way to handle the issue of strays.
"There needs to be some experts around to know what to do and it should not be handled by the public. They have the right equipment. We don't. A good way to handle the issue with stray dogs is for the authorities to catch and neuter them," he said, expressing doubt about how the captured dogs would be treated.
"It is not easy to capture these dogs. Some dogs can be aggressive and dangerous while some would just run away," he said.
In IPOH, research assistant Teh Zhi Hui, 24, said there should be officially-appointed bodies to handle strays in a humane manner.
"If the district has a stray dog problem, asking people to bring in animals to the council to be shot down is definitely not a solution. If you say they make the area dirty by going through garbage bags, then please dispose your garbage properly by putting them into bins," she said.
Businesswoman K. Kavitha, 37, said she knew of many owners who abandoned their dogs, adding to the population of strays.
"If they can hand the animals over to the council, then it will be good. I just hope that the council can think of a proper way to handle strays handed over to them instead of just shooting them," she said.
Lorry driver Ahmad Termizi, 48, said the council must properly handle the strays by working with animal shelters.
"Please do not kill stray dogs like this."