Tuesday, September 13, 2011
THE PETKNODE EPISODE
Three MDDB people were having a late lunch in a Subang Jaya restaurant two Sundays ago when we received a frantic call about what was happening.
We were told that hundreds of cats were dying in the Petknode premises that was locked-up and that volunteers and cat owners were breaking in to rescue the animals.
Several of the cats were said to be in dire straits.
Since most vets were closed on that day - we made arrangements to take them to a PJ clinic where we usually send some of our surgical cases to and we rushed to the place to help with the arrangements.
We were met there by Animalcare's Dr Chan and several Kucing Terbiar & Anjing Jalanan (KTAJ) volunteers. Once the cats were admitted and all arrangements were made - we received a call from KTAJ founder Nerq saying that many reporters had called asking for a press conference.
Now, as far as we know KTAJ, although new, was doing an excellent job and we strongly believed they should be given the opportunity to speak on the matter and must also be supported by all the other NGOs. We organised the PC and told them that we'll split the cost with them and invited all NGOs and animal rescue groups that we knew off.
This is because it is also our agenda to create camaraderie and strong ties between all shelters and rescue groups. Unity is after all strength. Although one or two groups were not present - all the others were there and this included Animalcare, SPCA, PAWS, SAS, GOE, Petfinder and us. We also knew from experience that if everyone went along the lines of animal cruelty, only DVS would be involved in the investigations.
A police contact had also advised us on what to do to get the police involved and after going through the pros and cons - we took the advise and told everyone that they should make police reports that they were cheated of the money they had spent to board their cats. They were also to add that they were not given the service that they had paid for. This would also help in bringing the case to the Consumers Tribunal. We felt that the incident should be taken to all platforms to seek justice.
We also provided a sample police report which the owners could use as we understood the need for all reports to be uniformed. We have been told that so far more than 70 police reports have been lodged and we are happy for this. Just as we had finished the press conference, we received a call from a lawyer - whom we are still trying to locate telling us of Section 48 and 49 of the Penal Code.
He said although the law was very old and literally unused it could be used to investigate the case and eventually charge the culprits. We immediately informed a top ranking Selangor police officer of this and are happy that Section 48 is being used to investigate the case. And of course there was the unpleasant episode of a couple of politicians trying to use this tragedy to meet their personal agendas. This must not be allowed because the most important thing here is to seek justice for the animals and to get the police and DVS to fully corporate with the rescuers. This must not be turned into a personal agenda thingy or a political game. As most of us know, the police had immediately shut the door on the faces of animal activists when they were accompanied to the PJ police station by some of these politicians.
That is the way things are done here - if you are opposition its difficult for you to get anywhere when dealing with the authorities. And at this juncture we must ask ourselves if we want to be guided by our political preference or the need to seek justice for the voiceless. As a matured animal rescue group - we certainly choose the latter.
Furthermore KTAJ's efforts will all be flushed down the toilet - with these politicians and an established shelter getting all the credit for something they merely had a small role to play in. We cannot allow this as it is also our agenda to start off, establish and encourage as many independent rescue groups as possible. (We have asked KTAJ to organise themselves and we will help with the necessary paperwork and registration process.)
So, we wanted the KTAJ girls to hold their own court and that is why we made one of the KTAJ girls chair the press conference instead of us or anyone else. There is now another problem looming ahead - the Veterinary Services Department (DVS) and the police want the unclaimed cats.
We are suggesting that the the fosterers take the cats to the DVS for the necessary check-up etc but not leave them there. They should instead stay there until the tests are done and then bring the cats home with them.
This is in the best interest of the cats and furthermore, we don't think the DVS pound is suited to keep these cats (or any animals at all). Under these circumstances, they may need political help but not from politicians who'll only get the door slammed on their faces.
So we have spoken to a top ranking Selangor UMNO politician and elected representative who has promised to help make arrangements with the DVS and police.
We have given his contact details to th KTAJ volunteers and we believe they have been in touch with him. Hopefully, things work out accordingly. Remember folks, it has nothing to do with our personal political preferences but everything to do with who can get us positive results for the animals.