LABUAN: Animal abuses cases reported to the Veterinary Department have increased by 30% from 510 in 2017 to 662 cases last year, says the director-general of veterinary services, Dr Quaza Nizamuddin Hassan Nizam.
He said the number of reports rose by 10% from 463 cases in 2016 to 510 in 2017, of which more than 90% involved dogs.
He said the higher number of animal cruelty cases reported was mainly due to the increase in the community’s awareness of animal abuse.
Up to June this year, at least 190 cases were recorded, with the fines imposed totalling RM12,500 from five cases brought to court. He said the total fines on offenders last year was RM71,200 compared to RM15,000 in 2017.
“The number of cases is quite worrying but it is due to public awareness of the need to address animal cruelty in the country,” he said at a press conference on helping pre-school children become more aware of animal care, handling and welfare.
Quaza Nizamuddin said the people could now could easily report cases of animal cruelty through their phones by making their complaints accompanied by video evidence.
He reminded the public of the deterrent sentence of up to 20 years’ jail and higher fines under the Animal Welfare Act 2015, deemed as heavier penalties compared to causing injuries to humans.
On animal-borne diseases, he said the department had classified rabies, especially in Sarawak, as still a menace to the public and a big challenge to his department, that it always prioritised preventive measures so that any outbreak could be addressed effectively.
“As for the African swine fever, we must be fully prepared for a possible outbreak in our country and preventive measures are being taken,” he said.