JOHOR BARU - The operation to catch stray dogs will be put on hold amidst continuing public outcry over cruelty in the putting down of the animals.
A decision would be made at the next full council meeting on whether action would be taken against officers involved, said Johor Baru Central Municipal Council (MPJBT) president Sallehuddin Hassan.
The MPJBT came under fire after a video clip showing enforcement staff bludgeoning stray dogs at the back of a warehouse in Jalan Makmur, Skudai, went viral recently.
"People should understand that these are not stray cats but aggressive dogs. The public also found the dogs a nuisance in their neighbourhoods. The dogs were not killed in a public space.
"The council has the right to put such stray dogs to sleep. However, I do not deny the way it was done was indeed regrettable," said Sallehuddin.
He added that he did not know how the dogs were killed until the video surfaced on June 5.
It is believed that the MPJBT department in charge of stray dogs had found it hard to obtain supplies for injections - which is usually used to put down stray dogs.
Checks by The Star at the warehouse, where the brutal culling took place, showed no signs that it was still being conducted.
However, dogs could be heard barking within the premises while enforcement officers were seen entering the warehouse area.
Various non-governmental organisations and at least 10 people have lodged police reports over the incident.
"It is unacceptable that no firm action has been taken against the officials," said Malaysian Independent Animal Rescue (MIAR) president T. Puspa Rani, who is also the representative of the group, during a press conference at the Johor Baru Central police headquarters here.
She added charges could be made under Sections 428 and 429 of the Penal Code for mischief against animals.