Animal Handlers Cruelty


English philosopher John Stuart Mill was once quoted as saying A person may cause evil to others not only by his actions but by his inaction, and in either case he is justly accountable to them for the injury.

John may have long been gone (passed away in 1873) but his idea of the dangers of inaction still holds great truth till today. In fact, so woven is this principle in the fabric of society that it forms the bedrock of a basic legal principle; that a party may be liable (in tort) for negligence by virtue of an omission (from doing an act) if he owed a duty to act in the first place.

But lets put aside the legal mumbo-jumbo. In simple laymans terms, if you are in the position to stop a particular (bad) thing from happening, you should not ignore or refrain from doing it. Comic fans and movie buffs probably know a particular superhero who uses this as his mantra, something about great powers coming with great responsibilities. But I digress once more.

Let me get straight to the point of this article then. Recently, there has been a spate of incidences, most of it reported on social media, of dog handlers and local council workers mistreating or sometimes downright abusing stray animals which they have been commissioned to catch.

Now, I am not against the rounding up of strays. In fact, in a previous post, I briefly touched on the problem of our strays and how it is a vicious cycle (strays breeding thus creating more strays) perpetuated by the explosion of pet farms and pet shops. I am fully aware of the problems faced by residents and people living in vicinities where large stray populations are not kept in check.

However, the rounding up (and subsequent dealing with) of strays must necessarily come with a big caveat: it has to be done in the most humane way possible. This is where we fall really, really short compared to other civilized countries.

Either through lack of training or management, most handlers assigned to round up strays often resort to the most barbaric and painful methods to get the job done. It is not uncommon to hear of strays being brutally shot at, injured, dragged on the ground or violently assaulted before being chucked inside transport vans ready to take them to shelters (or to be put down).

Recently, there was a huge outcry on social media when it was reported that dog catchers from MPKJ Majlis Perbandaran Kajang had been caught brutalizing some strays in the course of catching them in Bandar Rinching, Semenyih. According to eye-witnesses, some of whom had taken full advantage of the technology of social media to video the incident to be uploaded onto Youtube, the dog catchers went full-on barbaric with the hapless animals as they strangled and then dragged the dogs all along the road, with blood from these innocent beasts painting the road red.

According to the online reports, amongst the eye-witnesses happened to be members from Malaysia Independent Animals Rescue (MIAR), who continued filming the incident and tried to stop the MPKJ members from continuing their brutality. Things purportedly went ugly when it was further reported that the MPKJ members started reacting violently by stopping MIAR reps from taking videos and pictures. Apparently, it was reported that MIAR President Puspa Rani and treasurer Debra was assaulted by the MPKJ officers during the commotion. Last I read, MIAR members, together with animal lovers from various other groups such as 4Paws (Penang Animals Welfare Society, SPCA Kedah, PHS (Penang Humane Society). HOPE (Homeless & Orphan Pets Exist), MERCY and other independent rescuer and feeder groups were rallying support to gather at the Kajang police station in support of MIAR who wanted to make a police report on the same day.

Firstly, my deepest gratitude and highest commendations go out to all volunteers who took part in bringing to light and even literally getting involved in stopping the brutal acts of the dog handlers. You people have my full respect for sacrificing your time, effort and even personal safety for the sake of helping those who do not have a voice of their own.

Secondly, and this is the point of this article really, to all others who have been as enraged as me when I watched the video or read the reports, you must not turn a blind eye to such instances if it does happen in front of you. I know we Malaysians (or rather Asians in general) have been inculcated since young to adopt a not my problem policy when it comes to helping strangers. We prefer to mind our own business to not get unnecessarily involved in trouble, but heres where I think our Asian upbringing has failed. It has bred a generation (or generations) of selfish members of society who do not stretch out to help as long as none of their friends or families are involved.

Please dont. Any form of abuse by authorities feeds on the principle of them being able to get away with it. People who wield power (of any form) tend to abuse it if they can. The check-and-balance lies with us. It is us, society, who must play an active role in keeping the wielders of such powers in check.

For those who are worried about breaking the law yourself, well there are many things you can do which are within the boundaries of being lawful. For example, lets say you witness members of a local council or body abusing or mistreating a stray. You need not have to physically stop them (as they may in turn make a police report that you are preventing them from exercising their lawful duty) if you are the sort who is adverse to being on the wrong side of the law. However, this does not mean you should ignore or just watch. You can raise a ruckus. Bring unwanted attention to them. Scream and shout at them to stop. Video / film away their acts and proclaim that you are streaming it live on social media. Make a police report. Make multiple police reports. Write to your local councilor. Write to your ADUN. Blog about it. Spread the story on all social media fronts. Write to their body.

It is time you joined society in hitting back. It is time society stops turning a blind eye to such cruelty. Individually, one or two voices shouting for them to stop may be laughed off by them as being voices of that crazy animal lover. But when it becomes mobs of angry voices who continually grow louder, stronger and more menacing, now that will make them stop and take notice.

For far too long have animal-lovers been labeled as merely harmless weirdos who harbour strays, nurse injured animals and hold fun fairs to raise money for animals. It is time us animal lovers show that we have the capacity to love and at the same time bite. We must collectively shine the spotlight on every single local council, every single dog catcher and every single pound. We must remind them at every step of the way that we are going to make their lives so hard that they will perhaps start treating animals humanely because it would be much easier to do so.

If you are reading this article right now, chances are you are an animal lover already. This is me, a fellow animal lover like yourself, doing whatever I can (at this point in time, writing) to spread this word. Every great movement starts with one or two people deciding that a change is needed. Let us join such a movement. Let us show our brothers and sisters at all the animal welfare groups that they are not alone. Let us remind them that although some of us may not have that much time or opportunity to contribute as much as them to the cause, this does not mean we are not with them.

Let us remind them, and ourselves, that if ever we come across a situation where an animal is being abused by anyone at all, we will not turn away. Because if you dont do anything to help, you might as well be the one abusing that animal.




Yu Jian

ONG YU JIAN is a lawyer by profession (in Messrs Raj, Ong & Yudistra), animal lover by passion. He is a 30 year old Penangite who loves football, movies, music and having a pint or two and a laugh with the lads at the pub. A staunch believer that all men and animals were created equal, he believes in the power of the scribe (or keyboard) to give voice to the segment of community that cannot speak up.

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  1. avatar

    These people are just worse human being in the world…

  2. avatar

    It was very sad to read the article. I clicked the video but couldn’t bare to see it halfway. These people must be punished for what they have done to the poor soul. The animal didn’t even fight back.

  3. avatar

    MPKJ a GOV DEPT. It’s a disgrace to our country if the GOV don’t put a STOP to dog/animal abuse immediately. Malaysia THE country tat God has blessed. don’t make him think otherwise. To the dog catchers, wow Indians, they said it was their job which brings food to their family. well enjoy feeding the blood, the flesh, the pain that u caused that dog not to forget the curses which will follow thro to your generation.

  4. avatar

    We need to submit the complaints as individuals to various dept…. like Dept of Vet Services Selangor, Menteri Besar Office, the Selangor Govt Office… the MP of Kajang, etc etc everyone must do their part by lodging individual complaints

    Please also sign this petition


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