Remember the Petknode case that sent pet owners (both directly involved and not involved) reeling with shock when the “hell hotel” left the cats starving, dehydrated, covered in waste, and some dead? Who can forget the case of the dogs that were cruelly dumped on a mangrove island, left to die or to feed on each other before they were rescued by the late Sabrina Yeap?
How about the case of Sushi the poodle who was forced to stand on its hind legs and then brutally abused by his owners? You may remember the video of the incident that went viral:
Or, let’s take this to an even more recent case where a sun bear and a retired racehorse were poisoned to death at the Malacca Zoo and Night Safari.
All of the above are incidents that pet owners and pet lovers in Malaysia will find extremely difficult to shake. But thankfully, a new law that is ready for tabling in Parliament is about to get nasty with animal abusers.
Proposed as the “Animal Welfare Bill”, first time offenders will be fined between RM20,000 and RM100,000 or sit behind bars for up to three years. Repeated offenders will not only be fined up to double the amount imposed for their previous offence, but also face at least three months in jail for each offence.
Currently, the penalty for animal abuse is a fine of up to RM50,000, not more than a year’s jail, or both, following last year’s amendments to the Animal Act 1953. Prior to the amendments, the penalty was a paltry RM200 fine, six months’ jail or both.
Veterinary Department director-general Datuk Dr Abdul Aziz Jamaluddin said of the proposal:
The final draft of the Bill which included several amendments suggested by participants in a series of public engagements was also aimed at more extensive and intensive enforcement of the law. Animals cannot talk, they cannot take to the streets, and hold a demonstration. We need to have something punitive to act as a deterrent against animal abuse. The severity of the penalties was proposed by the public, not just by us.
Dr Abdul Aziz also mentioned that he hoped the Bill could be debated and passed by Parliament this year for it to be gazetted and enforced in 2014.
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