Remembering Sheena

Stop Animal Abuse in Malaysia.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Dog Lover Needs More Time To Set Up Animal Sanctuary

Article below from STREETS, NST August 26 August 2009


KUALA LUMPUR: A woman's compassion for stray dogs has put her in a bind.

The 68-year-old, who has turned the grounds of her bungalow into a temporary shelter for stray dogs, is now in a dilemma following complaints from some of her neighbours.

Chan Mee Fah said she was aware that some of her neighbours had complained about the dogs' barking and howling and she was looking for a piece of land outside the city to relocate the dogs.

"I have been planning to move out. I am looking for a place where the dogs can run freely without causing problems to anyone. I am in the midst of identifying a plot of land and I am estimating the move to be finalised in a year-and-a-half as it will take a few months to acquire the land and to set up the sanctuary," she said.

Chan declined to reveal the number of dogs in her house compound but a neighbour who complained to Streets claimed that there were at least 45 dogs.

The neighbour, who only wanted to be known as Eu, said she had been unable to rent out her double-storey bungalow due to the excessive barking from the dogs.

Eu said she had been suffering a RM7,000 loss in monthly rental.

Her earlier tenant who worked for an embassy here moved out after complaining about the din caused by the dogs.

"The tenant complained that his family was forced to keep their windows closed all the time to shut out the noise.

"Those who came to view my house were also put off by the dogs' incessant barking."

Chan said she had gone as far as Ulu Yam, Semenyih, Sepang, Bentong and Sungai Buloh to look for a suitable piece of agricultural land. She said she would need a plot of land measuring 0.8ha and she was prepared to pay about RM300,000 for it.

Asked why she kept so many dogs, Chan said most of the dogs were rescued by pet rescuers who later had difficulty finding suitable homes for them.

The dogs are housed in wooden kennels in her garden and porch area.

Chan began taking in the dogs in the 1980s after hearing that the Society For The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) was putting several dogs down due to lack of space.

"Gradually, the number grew and I built comfortable wooden kennels for the dogs to stay in. The kennels cost me about RM300,000. Now, my home functions as a boarding house for dogs that nobody wants to adopt."

Chan, a retiree, spends about RM50,000 a month to feed, spay and neuter the canines as well as hire workers to help take care of them.

Chan's case brings to mind another similar situation involving another retiree Tan Tiam Seng, 65, who got into trouble with the authorities after it was discovered that he had more than 15 dogs at his rented single-storey terrace house in Taman Sri Segambut.

It was reported last month that Tan had rescued the strays in his neighbourhood and took them home and cared for them.

Tan's neighbours complained about the foul stench and claimed that the common drains were clogged with the dogs' faeces.

He was subsequently forced to temporarily placed his pets at a factory belonging to a friend. Tan makes daily visits to the factory to ensure that the dogs are well taken care off by workers he had hired to feed and bathe them.

City Hall's rules permits only one dog for every household.

Meanwhile, SPCA public relations officer Jacinta Johnson asked the authorities not to take action against Chan but to give her time to relocate the dogs.

"Chan is a charitable person who has been helping the society. She adopts dogs from us occasionally, alleviating our burden.

"We know that Chan takes good care of the dogs and feeds them well. She also goes a step further by sponsoring dogs rescued by other people and helping pet rescuers financially if the dogs need medical treatment."

Johnson said Chan, a member of the SPCA, also sponsored part of an SPCA employee's salary and donates annually to the society.