Show some compassion to the voiceless strays

BY ANITA WOLFGANG

August 26 was International Dog Day but there was nothing to celebrate.

At the height of a Covid-19 pandemic, while we are grappling with new spiked cases, deaths and bad economy, we are warned by Kuching South City Council (MBKS) Mayor Datuk Wee Hong Seng that culling of strays will resume next week.

One wonders what their priority is and which part culling forms in their list of essential services.

The reality and disturbing trend is the appalling living conditions of confined animals in tiny cages, life-threatening neglect, dumping of puppies in boxes at back lanes and trash dumpsters.

The culprits go unpunished and scot free to repeated cruelty. The irony of man’s best friend is that they suffer and die at the hands of the very people who are supposed to care and protect them.

The more evolved society treat their dogs in a humane manner and view cruelty to animals seriously. They think through the process of a proper system of methodology and treatment of strays and rabies. They have laws to ensure that animal abusers are appropriately sentenced and prosecuted.

The hallmark of our councils’ infamous policies of random dog culling in the name of rabies is remembered by many netizens and voters. Are dogs the only carriers of rabies?

What about cats and rats? In our society, dogs continue to be plagued by violence, deliberately maimed, senselessly captured, tortured or killed by robotic cruel men in uniforms or their owners.

We are a soulless society with a government who continues to condone such acts of cruelty without batting an eyelid and without any inclination to do better. There is zero political will to strive for any form of improvement in their system. The government agency that is supposed to be the protector of animal welfare end up being the very body that goes around killing nursing mama dogs, their puppies and strays.

It is abysmal. The recent brutal killing of a nursing mama dog, Mumu, and her six one-month old puppies snatched from the owner’s home by men in uniform is still fresh in everyone’s mind. We simply cannot condone such intentional malfeasance by enforcement officers running amok into citizens’ homes to capture their pets.

This is no longer just about culling strays. This is a blatant abuse of office and power tripping.

How do we comfortably support authorities who think nothing of taking the lives of defenceless, voiceless living creatures?

It is time to learn from other countries on such matters when we are not experts. Ego aside, there is no shame to be open and willing to learn to be better.

How do we teach our children compassion and empathy? What values do we impart when killing of strays are widely and proudly publicised and brutal culling has become a senseless practice normalised by a govt agency?

Courage and kindness are needed to combat such practices. The days of talking down to citizens are over. Dogs may not be voters but the wide circle of dog lovers, pet owners, those involved in the TNVR exercise, all pet related industries and dog community will be angry voters. NGOs must now speak up, come together and share their stories.

We need laws to be enacted against abandonment of animals and fuller protection against abuse of all animals. We want to respect a friendly government with a benevolent face and willing ears which exemplifies caring governance with dialogues and constructive options.