Friday February 22, 2013
Groups: Spell out powers of animal welfare officers
By YUEN MEIKENG
PETALING JAYA: Animal rights groups have welcomed the stricter enforcement on animal abuse in the final draft of the Animal Welfare Bill but want more details about the role of animal welfare officers.
PAWS shelter manager Edward Lim said the Veterinary Services Department should explain the powers of these officers.
“Can they enter someone’s house compound without a warrant? Also, how does one draw the line on what is abuse and what is not?” he asked.
Lim said animal abuse should also be clearly defined because people might have different interpretations.
“I may chain up my dog for a long time and some may view it as abuse but others may not,” he said.
He lauded the proposed fine of between RM20,000 and RM100,000 for first-time animal abusers, describing it as “wonderful news”.
“For a start, the amount is sufficient to deter offenders. However, it should be revised periodically according to current needs,” he said.
Furry Friends Farm president Myza Nordin said the proposal to introduce animal welfare officers was a good step, likening them to policemen making their rounds.
“However, the procedures for taking action should be spelled out. Will they be able to issue compounds for offenders on the spot?” she asked.
She said increasing the fine for animal abuse from a mere RM200 to a minimum of RM20,000 would help prevent animal cruelty.
Malaysian Dogs Deserve Better rescue coordinator Irene Low said the proposal to introduce animal welfare officers was long overdue.
“It is a good idea to have our own version of ‘Animal Cops’. But those selected for the job should be people who are on the ground and have experience in working with animals.
“They should not be those who only know policies by way of theory,” she said.