By Edward R. Henry, The Star
SEVEN dog breeds — Akita, Neapolitan Mastiff, American Bulldog, Dogo Argentino, Fila Brasileiro, Japanesa Tosa and American Pit bull — are set to vanish from households in Subang Jaya soon.
The dogs classified under the “big” category are predisposed to aggressive or dangerous behaviour. The council is enforcing a directive from the Selangor Veterinary Department, according to which the dogs are “unmanageable or possibly dangerous”.
MPSJ director Dr Roslan Mohamed Hussin said the ban was with immediate effect.
He said the council had begun operations to check residential areas in the township for such dog breeds. They have even given out brochures with regard to the ban.
“Our officers who scout around the neighbourhoods have been advised to look out for such dog breeds. Once we have ascertained that a dog is from the banned list, we would inform the Veterinary Department, which would confiscate the dog and take the necessary action,” he said.
Dr Roslan said no dog from among the banned breeds had been found yet.
He believes that people could be raising these dogs behind high fences so that the canines would not be easily spotted from outside.
“Our Health Department does not have any record of those having such dogs because the owners might not have taken a licence for their canines. At present, we have 4,000 registered dogs but based on our observation the actual population of dogs in Subang Jaya homes could be around 6,000,” he said.
Dr Roslan believed the ban on the seven breeds was to prevent attacks on people.
“It is being done to ensure the safety of the people as these dogs could be aggressive. Even a small dog can bite and some homes have Rottweillers. These dogs should be put on a leash when taken out for walks,” he said.
On Jan 8, Maurice Sullivan, 50, died after he was mauled by two dogs at a farm in Penang while he was taking photos at an organic orchard.
In November 2003, a Rottweiler attacked M. Devaraj, 10, in Island Glades, Penang. He was seriously injured. Also, in November 2001, a neighbour’s pet mongrel bit a nine-year-old South Korean boy Lee Han-eul in Bangsar Baru, Kuala Lumpur. The boy sustained 15 wounds on his right arm and chest that needed several stitches.
In 1994, a three-year-old Rottweiler named LeRoq, mauled a grandmother Neoh Kim Lean to death.
The 70-year-old woman, who lived in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, died on the way to the Universiti Hospital. Part of her scalp and an ear was bitten off.
Dr Roslan added that MPSJ received 2,287 complaints from January to November last year, out of which 1,506 were dog-related complaints.
“The complaints were mostly related to safety — where owners fail to put their dogs on a leash while taking them out for walks. Others include incessant barking, not cleaning up dog excrement, no dog licence and leaving their dogs outside the homes without supervision,” he said.
He added that the council had acted on the complaints and 148 compounds were issued during that period.
Dog owners were slapped with a maximum fine of RM1,000 under the Licensing of Dogs and Kennel Establishments By-laws 2007 under the Local Government Act 1976 for not having a licence for dogs above three months old, for not abiding sanitary requirements in keeping dogs, keeping dogs in apartments and failure to immunise the canines.
Dr Roslan said MPSJ also restricted dog owners from bringing their dogs for a walk in public places, shopping complexes, religious places, all government and private offices, government and private schools and on public transport.
MPSJ has distributed brochures to Subang Jaya residents with a warning that the council has the right to impound or confiscate dogs that are taken to public places.
“Our operations on dogs are ongoing and our men will confiscate dogs found roaming without a leash and muzzle, with or without a licence. No prior notice will be issued and the onus is on the owners to keep their dogs on a leash,” he said.
Paws Animal Welfare Society Malaysia rescuer Molly Brown said the state veterinary department and MPSJ should rethink its action of wanting to confiscate dogs from the seven breeds from their owners based on their aggressive predisposition.
“Even people are aggressive and bite but we must see what leads to such tendencies. Little dogs like Shihtzu or Maltese are aggressive and can bite but this could be due to inbreeding or ill treatment while it was a pup. So, the authorities cannot just take away a dog,” she said.
Brown added that a Pit Bull, Rottweiler or even a Akita can be lovely pets if they are given love while a pup and not traumatised in its surroundings.
“Big dogs need good care, must come from a good gene line and trained to be sociable, so they are familiar with the people and its surroundings.
“The Selangor Veterinary Department and MPSJ should just get the owners to neuter the existing dog breeds as it is unfair to confiscate the animals,” she said.