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A council officer said that dogs with expired licenses may be taken away

GEORGE TOWN: A Penang Island City Council (MBPP) officer today informed the sessions court that the government can seize pet dogs if their licenses had expired.

A council officer said that dogs with expired licenses may be taken away

A pet dog with an outdated tag could be captured by dog catchers if it was in a public place, according to MBPP veterinary officer Dr. Tan Suan Heoh. In Penang, a dog license costs RM 10 per year.

Tan denied that this was stated anywhere in the council's 1977 dog ordinances when Ong Yu Shin, the plaintiff's attorney, questioned this.

Tan was giving testimony in a lawsuit launched by a pet owner against the municipal council as a result of the death of his dog five years prior, which occurred during a dog-catching exercise at Batu Ferringhi beach.

She referred to the registered mongrel that was shot with a tranquilizer gun by dog catchers in 2018 and eventually passed away on the route to the dog pound as "Butcho," saying that it was caught because it lacked a valid license.

According to testimony given in court, the dog was handled like a stray by the council because its license had been expired for three years at the time of the event.

The 53-year-old beach sports entrepreneur K Chendeladevan, who is the owner of Butcho, is suing MBPP for negligence in the 15-year-old dog's capture. Butcho has been his friend since it was a puppy. He asserted that his dog had a clearly visible dog tag and had been licensed since 2014.

"Safe" tranquilizer dosage

Tan, who oversaw the 14-man operation at the Batu Ferringhi beach on February 28, 2018, claimed that the day before the operation, she prepared three darts each containing 150mg of the tranquilizer Zoletil.

She claimed that day saw the firing of the three tranquilizer darts containing Zoletil. Two darts that were aimed at two stray animals missed their mark. One, though, struck Butcho. She stated Butcho, a female dog weighing between 10kg and 12kg, could take the medication without any problems.

Ong then advised that instead of using a one-size-fits-all dosage, Tan should have measured the Zoletil dose locally.

The 150mg dose per dart, according to Tan, was secure and "not lethal." She claimed that although the dog was breathing okay when it was taken into the vehicle for examination, it was in a stupor.

Later, she acknowledged that as they got closer to the River Road dog pound, one of the catchers proclaimed the dog dead. She said that at the time, Butcho was not with her.

"The dog didn't have a dog tag when it was brought back. It perished through organic reasons. If the dog had a license from the beginning, this would not have happened, the woman added. According to Tan, the veterinary service agency received Butcho's remains for a rabies check before discarding them.

At the time of the event, Tan was asked to disclose MBPP's dog-catching SOPs; however, she refused, stating that it was "not essential." She said that a large number of incidences involving stray dogs biting beachgoers and the possibility of rabies led to the dog-catching operation.

Karin Lim, the attorney for MBPP, opposed to Ong's line of inquiry, claiming that the plaintiff's counsel's inquiries were not relevant to the licensing of canines. He claimed that the licensing problem was the only issue at stake in the case.

Invoking the "trespass to chattels" tort, Ong claimed he was trying to demonstrate that the city council had wrongfully confiscated his client's property. The act of intentionally interfering with another person's rightful possession is the subject of the tort.

After hearing Ong's justification, Sessions Judge Sharmila Abdul Samad—who had earlier sided with Lim—allowed inquiry.

Officer made up a story to make things calm down

Later, Tan acknowledged that a dog pound employee had misled to people attempting to retrieve Butcho on purpose. She claimed that "Hakimi," a cop, informed them that it had escaped while being transported to the pound. She claimed that the trick was intended to placate a tense foreign couple and two people of Indian heritage who had come to the pound to claim Butcho.

Later, Ong claimed that MBPP had engaged in fraud when it claimed that Butcho had escaped without officially notifying the owner. Tan refuted the assertion, claiming that a media statement was sufficient.

Ong said that Syerleena Rashid, a city councilor, had informed the owner about Butcho's passing.

Pet was dozing off when shot

Former council dog catcher J Sirdiel, 60, claimed that he and a friend named "Haji Zakaria" had seen Butcho sleeping and that the friend had fired at the dog from a distance.

The dog jumped into the water as soon as the dart hit Butcho. I was able to fish it out after diving into the water quickly. I supported it by raising its legs upside down. We carefully wrapped it in a net after that and put it in the back of our van," he continued.

Sirdiel claimed Butcho pulled the dog out of the water without a collar or a license.

The court gave parties until September 15 to complete their submissions. Chendeladevan was also represented by Fam Han En and Yu Haan Xi, while MBPP was also represented by Nicholas Lim and Khoo Ching Chiat.