By Parvin Sandhu
Once, when I went to the pet store to purchase dog food, I came across some dogs too big for their tiny cages, and told the owner, “That cage is too small for this dog, don’t you think?” His response was, “That means you have to buy them faster.” This shows that pet shop owners only care about the profit they make out of the animals’ misery. The least they can do is provide proper shelter and care for these poor babies that have been separated from their mothers.
Two years ago, I passed by a pet shop and saw a beagle in a small cage directly facing the sunlight; its eyes were red and watery, a clear sign of an eye infection, and it was panting loudly. I called up the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) in Ipoh to give them the pet shop’s name. This was the uninterested response I got, “We cannot do much, the government does not allow us to do much, we can only go to the pet shop and advice the owners and they rarely listen to us.” If the SPCA are unable to do anything to improve the welfare of these animals, their purpose is highly questionable.
Rottweiler too big for its cage.
Next, neither the Municipal Council or the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) of Malaysia are aware of the number of puppy mills present in this country. Many puppy mills operate in highly remote areas and are unknown to the authorities. Puppy mills can produce any type or breed of dog, for example, pedigree, cross breeds and mixed breeds. These puppy mills do not need a license nor are there any standards to be met in order to operate a breeding facility, so essentially there are no consequences for providing inadequate care. The council does not inspect breeding facilities. Lack of enforcement by the council has left these innocent creatures to suffer in inadequate and inhumane conditions.
The issue I would like to highlight is the Municipal Council’s cruelty toward stray dogs. It was learnt that the stray dogs captured by the dogcatchers were allegedly kept in an uncovered lorry and exposed to the sun and rain before being euthanized. These poor dogs are put to sleep only after the dog catchers have captured enough of them to fill the lorry, which can take days and by the time the lorry is full, the first few dogs would have already died of starvation. The Star Malaysia conducted a check and it was reported that the captured strays appeared weak and were kept in a lorry with their own faeces and urine. Authorities in Malaysia are setting a gruesome example to the public regarding animal welfare. It is completely despicable to keep a dog, whose only fault was being born as a stray, in such an inhumane condition. The morals, ethics and values of these so called civilized authorities remains questionable. The least the government could do is provide shelter for these innocent creatures with proper food and water instead of starving them to death and putting them to sleep.
Referring to what I said above about puppy mills breeding cross-breeds, most of the time when cross-breeding takes place, a dog’s ferocious characteristics may become more dominant, making it more dangerous and unpredictable. These dogs have pronounced depression, mood swings and they are VERY difficult to handle.
Another issue is when pet shops sell pets to people and there is no screening of the people. It’s a culture where parents purchase “cute” pets for their children to keep them kids company. I was once a teenager who desperately wanted a dog too. The difference is, I was responsible, and I took care of my dog diligently. This still doesn’t change the fact that I once was not aware that I bought a dog who came from a miserable puppy mill. I was told by the veterinarian that my sweet Belle, contracted her Mange from her mother and that the owners’ of puppy mills would still keep breeding more dogs who had Mange, which is INCURABLE!
Many people purchase pets just because they look “cute” and once the pet becomes difficult to handle these people chain their dogs all day, cage them, subject them to violent beatings in order to train them, or just dump their dogs on to the streets or in shelters. Buying a pet is like taking responsibility for a child.
We need to ask ourselves, if we chain or cage our pets, beat them abusively, or subject them to inhumane treatment, are we doing justice to these poor innocent animals? We claim to live in a civilized and cultured society, but is the treatment of animals in this country by the people and the municipal itself civilized? If the government is not going to come up with laws and legislations governing animal welfare, we as the responsible and humane society need to take action. The time for ignorance should be long behind us. The first step would be to stop buying pets from pet shops and adopt pets from shelters. Hundreds and thousands of dogs and cats are being put to sleep every year in shelters and dying on the streets just because nobody wants to adopt them. In shelters, animals live their whole life in a jail with little or no interaction, no love and care as space and resources are limited. We need to question ourselves if the cycle of buying pets from pet shops, abandoning them to the streets and shelters, and then putting them to sleep is all worth it. Why breed more, when there are thousands out there who already need your love and attention?
We and only we, the so called cultured and civilized humane society is the cause of stray dogs and cats.
In conclusion, human ignorance is the root of all evil.