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Darting of animals case to be heard soon
Published on: Friday, August 11, 2017

Kota Kinabalu: Deputy Chief Minister cum State Agriculture and Food Industries Minister Datuk Seri Yahya Hussin said the launching of the 2015 State Animal Welfare Enactment roadshow is to create wider awareness on the enactment.

"Of late we have seen a number of cases of animal abuse in the State.

Hence the need for these laws to be given clarification so that the public is aware."

He said to date there have been three cases already identified under the new laws.

The first animal abuse case which is in Lahad Datu had already been prosecuted.

"There are now two other cases in Menggatal and Kota Kinabalu pending hearing as the investigation papers have already been completed." The cases involved random darting of animals in various locations in the city and outskirts. Another is a dog which had been fed pins and needles.

"This is a good sign as it shows that the public is aware about the existence of the law.

As a civilised society, we need to take care of our pets or animal's welfare," he said when launching the 2015 State Animal Welfare Enactment roadshow at the Department of Veterinary Services and Animal Industry (JPHPT), Thursday.

The aim of the roadshow is to ensure the public understand the existence of the enactment and to clarify each chapter in the enactment which was approved by the State Assembly in November 2015.

The roadshow was also to get feedback, comments and recommendations relating to the Code of Practice (COP) draft for each of the 15 activities involving these animals so that the interests of various parties can be taken into account before this draft is finalised.

Yahya said he was made to understand that the code of practice draft study was already completed and that was the reason for the launching of the roadshow by JPHPT. The next step was for it to be gazetted and published.

In the First Schedule Subsection 5(1) of the relevant enactment, there are 15 activities involving animals and each of these activities requires a licence.

Before this licence was issued, the Government had to provide guidelines and Code of Practice (COP) for each intended activity. The public needs to be aware that there are 15 activities involving animals which require a licence, including activities involving animal accommodation, riding and gathering animals, animal shows, animal breeding, animal rescue and conservation, animal training and animal care and treatment.

He said among the issues and challenges related to the welfare of the animals currently encountered were the increasing number of pets (dogs and cats) which were abandoned.

This occurs in many local authorities' taxation areas and the main cause of this symptom is the owner allowing their animals to reproduce without control.

Finally, when the number of animals is too large, the owner let them roam about looking for food.

"Therefore, I advise the public to be responsible pet owners by limiting the number of pets that can be kept and the rest should be neutered.

Yahya said currently there was even less awareness of animal welfare by livestock industry operators.

He said the principles of animal welfare should ideally also be practised by operators at every stage of the production process.

"That begins from the farm, where the animals are to be adequately supplied with food and drink.

At the transport level, the animals should not be put in put in containers that are too small and restrictive, while at the slaughter stage, the animals should be adequately rested before they are slaughtered, and at the slaughtering process stage, it should be carried out as soon as possible with a sharp knife to reduce any pain suffered by the animal."

He said the task and responsibility of enforcing this enactment is a very challenging.

Therefore, the government will appoint the Animal Welfare Volunteers (SKH).

"For starters, the government has organised SKH short courses which were attended by 11 participants and seven observers representing their respective associations and they will be commissioned as SKHs to assist the department."

Yahya said the 2015 Animal Welfare Enactment imposes heavy penalties on those found guilty of animal abuse.

"For example, Section V Section 18(1) for animal abuse, on conviction, shall be liable to a fine not exceeding RM100,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years, or both."

Meanwhile, Yahya said following the outbreak of the rabies disease that hit the State of Sarawak, he also urged all enforcement officers working at the entry points to the State such as in Sindumin, Salong/Pagalongan, Long Pa Sia, Sebatik and Tawau to be on "high alert" to ensure no pets like dogs and cats can enter Sabah without valid permits.

"I urge all societies, especially pet owners, to report immediately to the nearest JPHPT offices if their dog or cat shows a weird or strange symptom or behavior. Similarly all dog bites should be reported immediately to the nearest JPHPT office for action to be taken." - Neil Chan

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