The Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation branch here is unhappy about the problem of stray dogs and suggests that the authorities put them down.
Its Chairman Wong Tet Yun blamed the dogs for dirtying the town and expressed concerns that they could even cause visitors to stay away from Tenom.
“Currently, we’re having the Flower Festival and next year is the Visit Tenom year. But if we allow the stray dog problem to persist, tourists would mock us,” he said.
He also expressed concern that stray dogs could cause diseases like rabies.
Wong pointed out that part of the blame goes to dog owners who do not keep their pets confined.
“I urge them to cooperate so that we can keep our town clean and beautiful,” he said.
A shop owner, who declined to be named, however said it is not unusual to see stray dogs roaming around town.
He said the animals are only out in search for food to eat.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the District Council said they need to gather more feedback before deciding what action to take.
In RANAU, the increasing numbers of stray dogs around the town area has again raised concerns on safety as well as cleanliness.
A resident, Helvin Ribus, said the presence of strays dogs was a causing nuisance, especially for who have breakfast in town early before going off to work.
“As early as 6 am I must choose one location for breakfast around Ranau town. But what I saw was stray dogs everywhere including food premises and government buildings.
“As a town and a major tourist attraction in the state, this situation is bad to tourists who came to this area,” said Helvin.
Ranau District Officer Mohd Yassin Ibrahim when contacted said the matter is not a new issue and a series of discussion were made for the purpose of handling the situation with stray animals in town.
“So far, the Ranau District Council (MDR) had informed me that discussions were organised along with the related animal associations. As at now, the problem is still under the action of MDR, and so far I am yet to receive any information from them,” he said.
Ranau MP Jonathan Yasin who responded about the issue said a special unit under MDR should be formed in order to catch the dogs roaming the street and send them to a dog shelter.
“This is an interesting issue brought up by the public. In Ranau there is also SPCA and I was made to understand that they have been given a site for their activities. Maybe this is among ways to handle the issue,” he said.
Meanwhile, Paginatan Assemblyman Datuk Abidin Madingkir said, from his experience as the former Kota Kinabalu City Mayor and Permanent Secretary to the Local Government and Housing, several methods could be adopted, but it would involve costs.
“Long ago this problem could be handled by taking down the animals concerned. However this is no longer the accepted practice today because the law is against such actions apart from the call to fight animal cruelty.
“When I was still in DBKK, we cooperate with SPCA to handle the issue. The method used was to catch, neuter and release or send for adoption. Apart from that, we also have volunteers from the UK who are funded by big companies there to come and care for the animals in KK,” he said.
However, Abidin said that in Ranau, there should be a combined effort from all parties to prevent similar problems in future.
“Problems arise when there is a waste in a town area that is not disposed properly, attracting the dogs who love to scour the garbage. Additionally there are lay people who eat at the eateries, feeding their leftovers to the dogs.
“This problem is not a new issue, but a long-standing problem and also a problem in other towns other than Ranau, as well as in major cities. Perhaps one of the ways is to impose a license on the dogs so that the owner can be penalised.
“During my time in DBKK we provided a place for dogs that were captured. This method I see is also appropriate to be practiced in Ranau. But this way also involves significant costs,” he said.
According to Abidin MDR need to play an important role in capturing the dogs, however, the question is after being captured, where should the dogs be sent?