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Malaysia

Animal abusers to face jail time, RM100,000 fine under new law

Parliament has passed the Animal Welfare Bill that provide for stiffer penalties on convicted animal abusers, — Reuters file picKUALA LUMPUR, June 17 — The Dewan Rakyat has finally passed a new law that will impose stiffer penalties on convicted animal abusers, after a number of high profile cases of pet abuse.

Under the Animal Welfare Bill, those convicted will face a minimum fine of RM20,000 and up to RM100,000 or a jail time of up to three years, or both.

This is far more severe than the RM200 fine animal abusers had to pay under the Animal Act 1953, Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said after tabling the bill in Parliament.

“We hope with this Animal Welfare Bill, it will increase awareness among the public that we need to look after animals and love the animals and don’t let people torture animals as we’ve seen in media reports,” Ismail said during a press conference at Parliament today.

He added that on top of physical abuse of animals, non-physical abuse of animals like depriving a pet of food and water will also be grounds for punishment under the new bill.

After the bill is gazetted, an Animal Welfare Board will be created to implement specific rules that will dictate the mandatory amount of space animals must have when kept in cages, be it during transportation from farms or in pet shops, he said.

“We will also have a rule, for instance, with pet shops, now there are no rules for keeping cats or birds in cages, previously the shop owners can put them in whatever sized cage. Now we will determine to keep cats or rabbits in cages, for example, how big the cage should be.

“Or if you want to bring chickens or cows in a lorry, how many tons must the lorry be and how many cows a lorry can carry at once,” Ismail said.

Ismail added that the practice of some local councils that shoot stray animals will also be prohibited, adding that local council officials caught shooting stray animals will also be subject to punishment under the Animal Welfare Bill.

This comes after several cases of animal abuse surfaced in the past few months raising concerns over the welfare of animals, most recently in April when stray dogs in Seri Kembangan were used in nail gun target practice.

Among other abuse cases were a litter of new-born puppies that were burned alive in front of their mother; a six-month-old puppy that suffered a broken backbone and is now paralysed after being stomped on repeatedly; and a dog that was used as a football by several children, resulting in the canine suffering a broken jaw.