Five officers from Kota Samarahan Municipal Council (MPKS) allegedly barged into a house to take away seven dogs from the owner in Kuching, Sarawak
The incident first came to light when animal welfare non-profit organisation (NPO) Paws Of Hope Malaysia posted about it on Instagram on 18 June.
The post included a 23-second long video showing two individuals — believed to be local authorities — carrying something in their hands as they walk out the gate of a residence before climbing into the back of a van loaded with animal cages.
According to the caption of the viral post, the NPO said the incident happened at 9th Mile in Taman Greenwood last Friday.
It is said that the mother dog from the house would often take a morning stroll around the neighbourhood, but she had never bitten, barked, nor shown any sign of aggression at any passers-by.
However, on that Friday morning, Paws Of Hope Malaysia said when MPKS officers spotted the dog roaming outdoors, they shot her without consideration nor sympathy.
"After the dog was shot, she ran back into the house so the councils (sic) waited for the owner to open the gate for them to take the mother dog away," the post read.
"That still wasn't enough for them, so they took all her puppies away and threw them into the cage of the car trunk. They [got] rid of the mother dog by throwing her inside a huge tied-up plastic bag which she [would] then suffer a slow death with limited air inside."
The mother dog had eight puppies in total, all of whom still needed breastfeeding.
The NPO later posted an Instagram Story informing the public that they know the authorities used an overdose tranqualiser because netizens had in the past gave their accounts on this modus operandi.
It is believed that an overdose tranqualiser packs enough drugs to kill a dog. A netizen said if it was not enough, the authorities will place the dog in a bag to suffocate it to death.
Meanwhile, the owner of the dogs has also taken to a stray animal Facebook group to share the ordeal she and her family went through
Writing in an emotional Facebook post, the owner shared that the mother dog managed to run back home after slipping through a small gap between the gate.
The MPKS officers followed the dog back to the owner's house. They stood outside her house and requested her brother to open the gate as they had already shot the dog.
However, the owner's brother refused to let the officers in. But when her mother came home and opened the gate, the officers trespassed into their home and took the mother dog and six of her puppies away.
"My mom [pleaded with] the MPKS not to take the dog away, please do give us a solution to let the dog stay. If need [to] compound, just give us the compound. Let the dog stay," she recounted.
"But the MPKS [insistently] said that they had shot the dog, and the dog [needed] to be taken. If not, [they] can sue us [at] the mahkamah (court) and compound [us] RM5,000. My mom was blank at that time, she [didn't understand] the law."
Paws Of Hope Malaysia said the six puppies along with their mother had since been put to sleep. The owner and her family were only left with two puppies. She decried the MPKS officers, asking why they had to take the puppies away as well.
"I really [don't] understand. The puppies were just one month old! They just can [open] their eyes look at this world, they still cannot walk! I just don't understand why the puppies also need to be taken away?" she said." she said.
The problem did not end there. When the owner wanted an answer from the authorities, she said she was being pushed from one department to the other.
She said the Department of Veterinary Services Sarawak (DVSS) told her family that the department was not responsible for the matter.
When she and her family wanted to file a police report, she claimed that the police officers refused to let them proceed with it and were told to go to the Padawan Municipal Council instead.
At the Padawan Municipal Council, the owner's family was told that they were not the right department for the complaint and that the dogs had been killed.
"So, they keep pushing the responsibility, like in [a] circle, make us [confused] and tired," she said.
"Lastly, we went back to [the] police station again and said we wanted to do the report, yes they let us do the report, but already 5pm, the Department of Veterinary [had] closed, every of their staff [had gone] home, and my dogs [had] been killed."
At the time of writing, Paws Of Hope Malaysia's first post on the issue has gone viral with over 13,000 likes
Speaking to SAYS, the NPO said they learnt that the family is seeking legal action against the authorities for trespassing.
The video posted by the NPO was taken by the owner's neighbour, Nerissa Geoffrey. Nerissa told this SAYS writer that DVSS had threatened the owner to retract the police report on the case.
SAYS has reached out to the owner for a statement, but has yet to receive a response.
A petition on Change.org demanding that MPKS officers be sacked over the matter has garnered over 6,600 signatures as of publishing time.
In an update, Paws Of Hope Malaysia admitted that while there were a few rabies cases in the community, that did not give the authorities the right to do whatever they want.
"What saddens me more is that there are still people defending those (the authorities) who clearly did a mistake, saying they're just doing their job. Is this how a job should be done? Trespassing one's territory and taking away something which isn't theirs in the first place?" the Paws Of Hope Malaysia asked.
"I really hope there will be justice served for the mother dog and her puppies. We should stand up for our rights and stop mass culling of stray animals in Malaysia. Don't and never be afraid of speaking up for animal rights. We can do better than this. The most humane way to put an end to rabies is to trap and vaccinate the strays against rabies, neuter, and educate the public on their responsibilities as a pet owner."
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