LettersOPINION

Cruelty to Animals

Animal lovers in the country welcome the Taiping Magistrate court’s decision to fine an unemployed women for neglecting her female pet Rottweiler dog (NST February 4). It was reported that the women had subjected the canine to cruelty by not giving it food or water for several days. Apparently, the dog was rescued by the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) officers with the assistance of some local animal lovers after public complaint.

I applaud the DVS for its timely intervention and for successfully taking up the case to the courts and ensuring the perpetrator is appropriately punished for her animal crime.

I am happy to note that the media has given good publicity to this animal cruelty case. The news will help to create a better understanding and awareness among the public with regards to animal crime and the stance of our national animal welfare guardian – the DVS.

Having said that, I am equally sad to note that the single unemployed woman who was fined RM4000 in court for the animal cruelty offence was in a state of dilemma and was not prepared to handle the adult Rottweiler breed.

According to the news report the 16-year-old Rottweiler ended up with the women when her mother passed away. The women who was reported to have no experience in handling a grown-up dog, especially a Rottweiler, was simply not prepared to take possession of the canine. It must be noted that adult Rottweilers are known to take orders only from their masters. It is not easy for others to handle this dog. Under these circumstances the woman just didn’t know how to handle the situation and I suspect that this unfortunately had led to the neglect of the Rottweiler.

This case clearly demonstrates the need for us to consider setting up special ‘Pet Help Call Centres’ like the Befrienders Help Centres to cater for those who are finding it difficult to handle their pets for one reason or other. These Pet Help Centres can be manned by volunteers with the cooperation and assistance of the relevant authorities like the DVS or local councils. The DVS can help train these volunteers in handling distress calls from pet owners or others. Had there been one of these Pet Help Centres I believe the said woman would have found some professional help to handle her Rottweiler instead of neglecting it.

Getting upset with animal mistreatment and abuse by animal lovers is understandable but we should also not overlook the elements or factors that gave rise to such abuses or neglect. It’s noble to uphold the welfare and needs of our animals but at the same time we should also give equal importance to unfortunate pet owners and others who are caught in a “catch 22 situation” dilemma like the unfortunate woman who was fined in court for her pet neglect offence.

S. Param

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