By Ivana Qartika
Stray dogs and cats are a common problem in Ipoh. However, it has become an even bigger concern in Menglembu, as the strays have moved into the housing estates.
Their proliferation is traceable to a few factors. The two major causes are the lackadaisical attitude of government agencies and of dog owners who abandoned their one-time pets. Of all places, why Menglembu?
Menglembu is on the western fringe of Ipoh and was once noted for its groundnut farms. Chinese form the majority here with a sprinkling of Indians and Malays, although they do not make much impact, demographically.
Malays generally are averse to dogs for reason of religion, as the animal is considered unclean when it salivates or when it is wet. That explains why stray dogs are uncommon in Manjoi and Taman Perpaduan, a predominantly Malay enclave.
They may have good intentions but people who feed dogs and cats are actually doing more harm than good. They feed the animals but do little else in terms of their health and keeping their numbers under control. Stray dogs pose a bigger threat, as an infected dog can spread diseases like rabies. There were a couple of reported cases in Taiping recently.
Ipoh City Council is responsible for keeping a tab on strays but of late has come under fire for the way it disposes of the poor animals. Non-governmental organisations, such as Noah’s Ark and certain individuals, are more humane in their efforts. They are genuinely committed to caring for strays. They capture, neuter and release them.
However, the downside is, once these animals are released they are free to roam in a totally different area than previously. So the problem is not overcome but rather transferred.
Now back to Menglembu. Based on observation by this scribe, the number of stray dogs has increased many times of late. The problem will not dissipate unless something substantive is done.
Culling these animals remains the only viable option but it comes at a cost. It is a Catch-22 situation and only Ipoh City Council and the public has the answer.