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Is It Right To Capture Or Feed Stray Animals?

Is It Right To Capture Or Feed Stray Animals?

The recent capture of stray dogs ignited a longstanding debate about the rights and wrongs of catching stray animals, and whether it’s right to feed them.

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The recent capture of stray dogs by the Petaling Jaya City Council (MPBJ) earned the wrath of netizens when the officer allegedly hit a man in the process.

Based on the footage, the elderly man was hit by a rod used by the officer when he tried to shelter the dogs from being captured.

READ MORE: Police Investigate Uncle Who Protected His Dogs From MBPJ

The debate soon devolved into the rights and wrongs of capturing and feeding stray animals, especially dogs.

The capture of stray animals has always been controversial among animal lovers and the rest of the public.

For city councils, it’s tough to satisfy all parties. If they don’t control the stray animal populations by taking them in, people will complain. If they do take these animals in, people like animal lovers and animal rights groups would also make their voices heard.

The best thing city councils could do to appease both sides is to try to follow the standard operating procedures (SOPs) the best they could. In real-time situations, sometimes SOPs are hard to follow due to various factors.

Meanwhile, it also requires cooperation from animal lovers and animal rights groups to help come up with solutions to care for stray animals without harming local communities.

Based on the SOP guideline, stray dogs are to be captured using an adjustable looped leash, a net to trap the animal or a tranquiliser gun to subdue it. Officers have to carry out any of these methods without harming the animal.

A former city council staff explained that the council only acts when people lodge a complaint about the animals.

She added that animal shelters sometimes refuse to take in captured stray animals when contacted by the city council.

She also shared an incident where a woman insisted the city council release one of the captured stray dogs that she always fed. Upon investigation, it was revealed that an elderly woman made the report because she was attacked by the same dog during her morning walk.

However, a netizen claimed that the city council never bothered to work with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to properly care for stray animals.

Other suggestions for the city council

Others suggested that the city council should follow the Trap-Neuter-Release-Manage method to control the stray animal population. This would require cooperation with city councils, NGOs and voluntary veterinarians.

Netizens also brought up comparisons with the way Turkey managed its stray dog population.

A netizen claimed that the dogs in Turkey are not aggressive towards cats and children because the animals weren’t threatened and mistreated by the locals there.

The debate also showed the double standard shown between the capture and mistreatment of stray dogs and cats.

Dogs are often vilified for attacking people and causing diseases such as rabies. Since most stray dogs are larger than stray cats, they’re also immediately seen as the larger threat.

While stray cats don’t often attack people, netizens said these animals dirty up the environment. Since cats are natural hunters, the rate they kill other wildlife animals is high as well.

It’s also believed that animals only attack people when they feel threatened. By being less afraid and reactive towards animals such as stray dogs, the likelihood of animal attacks might lessen. In short, the animal doesn’t defend itself when it feels it’s in a safe environment.

In addition, our personal likes and dislikes for animals depend on various factors such as the animal’s aesthetics to us. That can also add to the already contentious issue when it comes to favouring dogs or cats.

Is it a good idea to feed stray animals?

Throughout the arguments, one point remains consistent and that is not to feed stray animals because it helps fuels the problem with the number of stray animals in the streets.

Feeding these animals not only encourages the stray animal population growth; it also causes other animals especially rodents to increase in numbers too.

However, a few people also believe that stray animals can still be fed but these animals need to be neutered or spayed.

They believe feeding stray animals such as cats will lessen the chances of cats killing other animals like birds.

Long story short, it’s hard to pin down one perfect method to manage the population of stray animals.

If there’s one, it’ll be a complex solution and will require lots of cooperation and understanding from all parties involved.

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