In recent years, there have been countless incidents of animal abuse reported in Malaysia, while countless others go unreported.
Animal groups and shelters in the country have been up to their necks rescuing injured, abused and abandoned animals. Finally, there is a new law, which is all set to be tabled in Parliament, said to give harsher punishments to animal abusers.
According to the Star, the Animal Welfare Bill proposes that first time offenders be fined between RM20,000 and RM100,000, or be locked up for up to three years.
Those who repeat their crime will be fined double the amount imposed for first time offenders, and will also face at least three years behind bars.
At the moment, the punishment for animal abusers is a fine of up to RM50,000, less than a year in jail, or both. This was amended after last year’s amendments to the Animal Act 1953. The previous penalty was a mere RM200 fine with six months in jail, or both.
The Star reports that the final draft of the Bill includes several amendments suggested by participants in a series of public engagements, aimed at more extensive and intensive enforcement of the law. This means that the severity of the penalties was not only proposed by the Veterinary Department alone, but by the public as well.
Besides that, there is also a proposal to create Malaysia’s very own ‘Animal Cops,’ consisting of a team of officers keeping an eye on the treatment of animals at all times. The proposed officers will go around inspecting and making sure animals are treated with proper care. For example, if the officers come across an animal that has not been fed for days, they have the power to investigate and take the owner to court. Currently, the Veterinary Department have a team of enforcement officers who are only used for specific operations.
The bill will hopefully be debated and passed by Parliament this year, so that it will be gazetted and enforce next year.
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