NGO cautions against vigilante justice for abused dog

Wani-Muthiah-dog-abusePETALING JAYA: Malaysian Dogs Deserve Better (MDDB) has urged animal lovers to avoid getting in the way of efforts by the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) to get justice for an abused dog in Puchong.

The animal welfare group was commenting on a recent video showing a man relentlessly battering a small dog with a crash helmet. It is believed the incident took place last Sunday night in Taman Melody, Bandar Kinrara, Puchong.

According to MDDB founder Wani Muthiah, the courts and enforcement authorities place the interests of a human above those of an animal. Therefore, she told FMT, pursuing any form of “vigilante street justice” would jeopardise the “strong case” the DVS has against the suspect.

“When the authorities and the courts know that this person has been harassed or that his reputation has been ruined by animal rescuers and animal lovers, it will not work out for the best interests of the dog,” she said.

“Once the DVS has taken up the case, we should just stand back and cooperate. We should not go after the man or pursue any kind of vigilante street justice.”

Wani also said it would be preferable for the suspect to be apprehended by the DVS instead of the police because the punishment that could be handed out under the Animal Welfare Act, which the DVS would use, would be more severe than punishment under a law the police might prefer to use.

“We don’t want this person to get away with just a slap on the wrist and so would prefer that he be charged under the Animal Welfare Act.”

Yesterday, MDDB wrote on its official Facebook page that the DVS had taken the dog for a medical examination and would proceed with prosecution after finding solid evidence.

Under the Animal Welfare Act, offenders can be jailed for three years or fined RM20,000 to RM100,000.

The Sunday incident was caught on CCTV. In the three-minute recording, a man believed to be in his late 30s is seen riding a bicycle with a basket carrying his own pet dog. A dog at a guardhouse suddenly breaks free from its leash and charges at the man, causing him to fall from his bicycle.

The man, who looks enraged, runs up to the guardhouse, catches the dog and punches and kicks it repeatedly. He also uses a crash helmet against the animal before carrying it into the guardhouse, out of view of the CCTV camera.