New rules in Malacca force owners to hand over canines to shelter

Low says the Malacca SPCA has to fork out an additional allocation to take care of the dogs.

MALACCA - There is a surge in the number of dogs being abandoned at the Semambok canine shelter here following new rules for dog owners imposed by the Malacca Historical City Council (MBMB) and the Hang Tuah Jaya Municipal Council (MPHTJ) here.

Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) Malacca chairman Vincent Low said dog owners are finding it convenient to just hand over their pets to them because of the restrictions imposed by the councils.

"The SPCA is facing a dire need of financial help because this overcrowding has caused us to fork out an additional allocation to take care of the well-being of these dogs," he said.

The association runs the canine shelter.

The new by-laws were implemented in January to restrict the number of dogs per household, depending on the build-up size of the house or space for the dogs to roam.

The rulings require dog owners to pay an additional annual fee of RM40 for a non-neutered dog and also stipulates that families in intermediate terrace houses are not permitted to keep any dog unless they already have an existing licences obtained in previous years.

Apart from this, dog owners are required to sterilise their pet, both male and female, and proof of the surgical procedure is to be produced before the issuance of licence.

Low said the SPCA and a group of dog owners had submitted an official letter to both councils explaining their displeasure over the by-laws.

"We have asked the council to lower the fee structure for dog owners and have proposed a reasonable price," he said, adding that the association is not against the authorities punishing irresponsible dog owners who allow their vicious dogs to roam free.

He suggested that state government starts an awareness campaign to educate owners on the importance of sterilising their pets before implementing the by-law.

He said dog owners should not be restricted from rearing more than one dog, adding that the MPHTJ should do away with the requirement to provide "dog portraits" when applying for dog licences.

"Another ruling of obtaining consent letter from dog owners' neighbours should also be nullified as it infringes on the owners' right of having a pet at home," said Low.

It is learned state Housing, Local Government and Environment committee chairman Datuk Ismail Othman had understood the plight of the dog owners and was reviewing the conditions.

He was not available for comments yesterday.