Monday, April 9, 2012

Animal activists in Sabah furious over primitive and cruel method of killing stray dogs

Dogs are living beings that need care, love and affection too.

This is what blowpipes look like, used by primitive people, hundred of years ago.

Animal rights activists in Sabah want local authorities to stop engaging a "stray dog terminator" who boasts using a cost-effective but primitive method of killing these creatures using his blowpipe.

They said the authorities should, by right, provide treatment to injured animals apart from giving them food, water and shelter for at least 48 hours.

"If nobody comes to claim the animal only then it should be put to sleep and the proper way by injection.

"Injections cause no pain to the animal, it would only feel tired and eventually die. Not by using blowpipe and poison darts," said one of them, Sam Lau, to the Daily Express newspaper.

"Also, the 48 hours is necessary because even though you think it's a stray it might still belong to someone," he said, referring to a Daily Express report in which one Matius Akung, 46, claimed to have killed up to 5,000 stray dogs with his blowpipe since 2010.

Matius, a Murut, uses a self-made 2.5-metre belian blowpipe that he carries whenever asked to shoot stray dogs, loaded with lethal dart whose tips have been dabbed with a mixture of tree sap which could put down a dog in eight minutes.

He sources the poison from trees based on a secret recipe handed down for generations.

The Murut farmer-cum-handicraft maker said his services have been sought to solve the strays problem in Semporna, Sepanggar, Kudat and as far away as Pulau Mabul.

He said when the local authorities approached him to finish off the strays due to public complaints, he accepted the offer with open arms because "firing a blowpipe from a distance is very natural to us (Muruts)".

However, Lau pointed out that even the authorities, whenever they catch a dog, are required to take them to the dog pound and wait for 48 hours for the owner to come and redeem their pets.

He also wondered if Matius had a special permit to kill dogs using poisonous darts. If he doesn't, then it's against the law under Section 428 of the Penal Code.

Lau said under the law it is an offence to kill any animal of the value of RM5 or above, which is punishable with imprisonment for a term, which may extend to two years or fines or with both or alternatively, the provisions under the Cruelty to Animals Act can also apply.

"Even if the blowpipe man has a special permit, it is still a very cruel method of solving stray dog issues".

"Based on what he says, the dogs once hit with the poisonous dart would begin to vomit within the first four minutes. Which means it would go through excruciating pain before it dies," Lau said.

He also suggested that microchips be implanted in all pets to make it easier to identify the owners in future.

Meanwhile, fellow animal rights activist, Melisa Lim, said a brown dog with infected testicles is still in her care since nobody has come forward to claim. She urged the dog owner to contact her at 014 6535026.

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