‘Unreasonable’ to return dogs to abusive owner, says lawyer

Lawyer N Surendran, who heads the Malaysian Animal Rights Society.

PETALING JAYA: A lawyer today said a court order to return two dogs to their abusive owner was unreasonable.

N Surendran, who heads the Malaysian Animal Rights Society, questioned why the dogs were ordered to be returned to their owner who abused them.

It was reported that the owner, Lai Woan Yong, was fined RM4,000 by the Ayer Keroh Sessions Court on Friday after she pleaded guilty to causing hurt and suffering to the male and female mixed breed dogs at her home in Hang Tuah Jaya, Melaka.

“It made no sense at all to send back the two dogs to the owner. Under Section 74 of the Animals Act, the court could have ordered forfeiture.

“DVS should have made a representation to the court, in saying the owner is not fit to take care of her dogs,” he said, in referring to the Department of Veterinary Services.

According to the facts of the case, Melaka DVS officers found a dog chained up and in a weak state with lice all over its body in front of Lai’s house. Another dog, with a skin problem and swollen left eye, was found at the back of the house.

Lai also charged towards videographers and photographers, who tried to take pictures and videos of her outside the courthouse.

Wani Muthiah.

Surendran also said the RM4,000 fine was not adequate as it did not send a message to the public that animal abuse is a serious offence.

“DVS can file an appeal against the fine. And they should also take steps to ensure the dogs’ safety since the animals were returned to their owner,” he added.

However, Wani Mutiah, founder of Malaysian Dogs Deserve Better (MDDB), said the judge made the right decision in ordering DVS to surrender the dogs back to their home.

“I see wisdom and compassion in the court’s judgment. They are old dogs and disfigured.

“Where can they go to?

“If DVS takes custody of them, who can they surrender the dogs to?

“DVS may very well have to euthanise the dogs in the end,” she said, pointing out that shelter homes do not take in dogs over five years old.