Note: This article was first published in October 2017.
Everyone loves dogs. Any of us with a pet dog can attest that they are godsent creatures that are at times too good for us. It’s so much so that we consider them as members of our family. In fact, there are some studies that have shown positive effects associated with having dogs as your companions. Having said that, many netizens expressed their anger over the recent Miri incident involving the local council and a dog that was famous for tapau-ing food.
All of us are probably wondering: did the council workers have power to put down the dog? Do note that while the Animal Welfare Act 2015 brought about much improvement for the quality of life of animals, the provisions are related to animal owners or people who abuse animals, not the powers of your local council/council workers in putting down certain dogs.
Yes, your local council does have the power to put down certain animals
The Animals Act 1953 (Amended in 2006) provides for some animal control scenarios like importation and exportation of animals, diseased animals, et cetera. If we look under section 38(6), it says that:
The owner of every licensed dog shall provide a collar to which the badge issued in accordance with subsection (5) shall be securely fastened in such a manner as to be clearly visible when worn, and such collar and badge shall be continually worn by such licensed dog when out-of-doors, and any dog found out-of-doors and not wearing such collar and badge may be destroyed.
The provision makes it pretty clear that dogs that don’t have their collar with the license attached can be put down if found roaming outdoors. The collar must also be clearly visible on the dog.
In fact, with proper documentation, any person may enter any place that is not a dwelling house to put down dogs that are specified in section 38(6):
The proper authority may authorize in writing persons to destroy dogs in accordance with subsection (6) and such persons may enter upon and into any place, not being a dwelling house, for the purpose of enforcing that subsection: Provided that such person shall, if so required, produce and show his written authority to the owner, occupier or person for the time being in charge of such place
All they need to do is show said documentation to the owner/occupier/person in charge of the place with dogs that are without collars with the license.
What can I do to prevent this from happening?
A few simple steps will help to make sure that your dog stays safe! Due to different requirements in different locales, and to keep the article to a manageable length, the next part only applies to the council responsible for the Ampang Jaya area (MPAJ). For example, in Penang, you can actually do it online via the MBPP website.
You need 2 ID sized photographs of yourself
1 full-body photograph of your dog (postcard size)
- 1 copy of your identification card (front/back)
Of course, there are fees invoved.
- New/renewal license per dog per year: RM 15
- Replacing a license for that year: RM 10
- Exchange: RM 5 per dog
- Owner’s card: RM 2
The number of dogs you can have at any time on a property of specific sizes are also specified:
Less than 1000 square meter: Maximum of 2 dogs
More than 1000 square meters: Maximum of 4 dogs
- Dogs kept at higher than ground floor (in apartments or condominiums) cannot be issued with licenses
In Kuala Lumpur, some breeds of dogs are listed as ‘controlled’ by the DBKL:
- German Shepherd/Alsatian
- Bull Mastiff
- Bull Terrier
- Perro de Presa Canario (Canary Dog)
Owners of these breeds of dogs have to have passed dog handling classes and said dog has to have gone through behavioral courses organized by various organizations. They also have to be constantly under adequate supervision, and shouldn’t be let wandering outdoors without someone walking it.
Some breeds of dogs are straight up not allowed to be kept, like American Bulldogs and Akita Inus.
So my dog(s) is unlicensed, what should I do right now?
The best thing you can do for yourself and your dog is to find out how to get a license for it right now. Find out how to get one from the nearest branch of your local council. For some places, it can be as simple as just filling up a form online, for others require you to fill up physical forms and bring some documents to the council’s office. Either way, it’s not difficult and it’s inexpensive, and it saves a whole lot of heartbreak for everyone involved.