Ipoh City Council held a public forum recently to discuss how to handle strays. The forum was held at the council auditorium. This came after Noah’s Ark Ipoh, an animal rights group, held a candlelight vigil outside the Chief Minister’s official residence in protest against the Council’s cruel methods of killing and disposing of strays.
Five professionals, all with community-service backgrounds made up the panel with the Council’s Secretary, Dato’ Abdul Rahim Mat Arif as the moderator. The five were veterinarian Dr Ranjit Kaur, founder and treasurer of Noah’s Ark Ipoh, Dr Hassuzana Khalil, State Veterinary Department Deputy Director, Zulkifli Abbas, Klang Municipal Council acting health director and Joy Elia Saga, Ipoh Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA) Secretary.
According to Dato’ Dr Mah Hang Soon, who officiated the forum, City Council is not allowed to shoot strays unless they are aggressive and have diseases such as rabies.
Dr Ranjit urged the public to be responsible in caring for their pets. “Avoid unwanted litters as a large portion of the city’s strays were made up of abandoned and unwanted litters.”
Since the Council does not have a pound, pet owners whose dogs are captured cannot claim their pets. Rahim said that the Council was unsuccessful in curbing the large number of strays. The shooting of strays had not reduced the number. One solution is to enlarge the capacity of ISPCA. He promised the society an annual grant of RM10,000.
The story of Kelly Tan Juat Jong and Jacinta Emmanuel caring for stray dogs, which was published in Issue 92, has moved the hearts of many readers with compassion and love for animals. Since then, numerous calls with offers of help in the form of donations, dog food, and advice have been pouring in.
Kelly and Jacinta, who have been taking care of 52 dogs on their own in a shelter on privately owned land about 17 km from Ipoh, are now for the first time, able to vaccinate all their dogs with the help of a generous donor, Mr Foo Wan Tot, president of ISPCA.
Another contributor, Dr Suresh Sethuraman, whom Kelly and Jacinta call their ‘Goodwill Ambassador’, and his family donated cash and dog food, and also visited their shelter and gave invaluable advice on an adoption programme to re-home some of their dogs by designing a Facebook page. Kelly and Jacinta and their new-found friends are planning to register their shelter.
They now have tapped cleaner water from a different stream, so that they need not lug in 75 litres of water; ISPCA’s Mr Yap laid the pipes and Ms Sandy Chan financed the project.
Sadly people still call them to pick up strays, abused and injured animals, but they can ill afford to do so, because they are self-supporting and lack space at their shelter. Meanwhile, Kelly and Jacinta are looking for a suitable place closer to the city where they can have clean tap water and electricity and are closer to vets. They still welcome dog food and cash donations. Their phone numbers remain unchanged; Kelly – 016-5397192 (in Chinese) and Jacinta – 012-5150803.