Daily Express
INDEPENDENT NATIONAL NEWSPAPER OF EAST MALAYSIA
Established since 1963
SPCA KK to manage DBKK's operational pound soon

Published on: Monday, February 07, 2011

THE Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) is an international network of animal welfare charity groups whose operations include protecting and providing shelter to animals in danger.

The SPCAs are non-profit organisations that campaign for animal welfare and take in abused or abandoned animals, and help them to get adopted.

The SPCA is a group that helps protect sick and injured stray animals and animals in danger. Its mission is simple but vast: Advancing the safety and well-being of animals.

In Malaysia, the oldest SPCA organisation is the SPCA Penang, which was founded in 1948. This was followed by the formation of the SPCA Selangor, Kuching, Ipoh, Melaka and Johor. These non-profit organisations are independent, and are not considered as branches.

The youngest SPCA organisation in Malaysia to date is now the SPCA Kota Kinabalu (SPCA KK), which was officially registered on February 14, 2006.

It all began on March 6, 2004. A licensed dog named Maximus, who was mistaken for a stray, was shot by the Kota Kinabalu City Hall Dog Unit, when it ran out of its compound to check on some commotion outside.

This initiated its heartbroken owner to rally support to set up the SPCA KK in memory of Max and more importantly, to prevent similar untoward tragedies of innocent pets. As a result of this, and with the enthusiastic support of a handful of animal lovers, SPCA KK was born.

The first Annual General Meeting was held on March 29, 2008, where the election of office-bearers took place. The first president was a local veterinarian.

Although cash-strapped and without much resources, the organisation hopes that with generous public assistance and support it can continue the never-ending battle to prevent animal abuse. The SPCA KK also aims to create awareness and bring about change to situations and practices where animal cruelty, neglect or unnecessary suffering exists.

The SPCA provides many excellent animal welfare services to the community. Every year, we at the SPCA KK rescue many animals from abuse, neglect and abandonment. There is a 24-hour emergency rescue service that responds to public complaints. Another important service rendered is the advocacy for the humane treatment of animals.

This includes the investigation of animal cruelty complaints made by the public. Education is an important tool in long-term animal welfare management. Educating the public will ultimately lead to a decrease in the causes of animal homelessness and abuse. When pet population is under control, which is one inevitable outcome of effective, community-wide humane education, there will be less homeless animals and also less suffering and traffic hazards due to strays. There will also be lower incidences of diseases like rabies infecting humans.

There are campaigns and brochures to educate the public regarding pet care, responsible pet ownership and animal population control.

We also emphasise on the importance of sterilisation and regular animal health check-ups. We work closely with the many caring and generous veterinarians in the Kota Kinabalu vicinity that aid in the welfare of our animals. The SPCA KK also regularly contributes to the mass media with advice and interesting stories with the hope of rekindling the love for animals.

The SPCA is often telephoned by distressed members of the public requesting to clear cats and dogs from their vicinity.

The callers are tired of the mess, disturbance or inconvenience that they feel the animals are creating and expect the SPCA to clear them.

We would like to help. However, the main role of the SPCA is to care for abused, injured and sick-animals. We have about 100 animals monthly to deal with which includes veterinary treatment, quarantine, vaccination, sterilisation, re-homing via our adoption service and euthanasia.

As we are responding to over 50 emergencies per month involving mainly stray animals, it would be impossible to treat every one of them in view of our limited facilities and the prohibitive cost involved.

The SPCA KK will soon be managing DBKK's operational pound, the first in Kota Kinabalu. The pound management is the biggest challenge facing the current executive committee. Everything from manpower to run its daily activities to financing the project and an efficient re-homing programme is required to make the pound a success. Overcoming these hurdles is no easy task. It requires the expertise and aid from all walks of life. Therefore, we are reaching out to the whole KK community to support us. Let us show that we are an animal loving and humane society.

Your generous contribution in manpower, cash and in-kind, no matter how big or small is welcomed with open arms. Many new programmes like animal foster care, youth volunteers and adoption are being planned to reduce operational cost.

The SPCA KK is looking for sponsors (both corporate and individual) to help cover the costs for the upkeep of our animals and the daily operational cost of the soon to be opened pound. Donations are badly needed to buy more cages and equipment, pet food and to cover the rising cost of animal healthcare. All cash contribution to the SPCA is entitled for tax exemption.

We are willing to discuss with groups or individuals who genuinely sympathise with animals. A financial gift to the SPCA KK is a powerful statement of your support for our mission. In-kind contributions are also welcome. Pet food, cages & animal handling equipment, medicines and many other useful things will go a long way in helping the SPCA KK reduce operational cost.

Volunteers are the backbone of the SPCA KK. As we do not have full-time staff like other affluent and established SPCA's in Malaysia, we rely solely on volunteers. There is a volunteer in every one of us, it is just our attitude and ignorance that keeps this volunteer in us hidden. Never under-estimate yourself, there are many fruitful ways that you can make a useful contribution to society. You will find helping the SPCA KK rewarding and you may have new wonderful experiences and friendship, both with animals and humans.

For those who cannot spare their precious time to help our cause, there are many ways where you can passively support us. Attend and support our talks, campaigns and fund-raisers. There are many invaluable ideas that can be discussed and learned at these sessions with experts. Be a foster guardian to our rescued animals at the pound. The new pound cannot be a sanctuary for animals forever, the fate animals failed to be re-homed is uncertain.

Make a pledge to support these animals, for a nominal fee, we can responsibly look after your sponsored pet while you can drop by anytime to spend some quality time with your pet. Fostering a pet is a wonderful and fulfilling role for anyone. Foster families can help save hundreds of animals from being put to sleep due to unbearable cost. It's really a fun and rewarding way to help the SPCA KK.

Innocent animals are sometimes the target of merciless criminals.

They may be tortured, maimed and worse, killed in the hands of these of ruthless and heartless criminals. We need your help. If you observe an act of animal abuse, whether deliberate or unintentional, don't just walk away.

Call the SPCA KK and we will send our brave and caring volunteers to investigate. Help the SPCA KK help the animals. Bring about justice for these defenceless animals. Animal abuse is not just socially unacceptable - it reflects a lack of respect for life itself.

If the member of the public, who finds the animal, can take ownership of the stray, it is a much better solution than handing it over to the SPCA.

We encourage the public to try to re-home any strays themselves using various avenues such as online adoption sites, posting flyers on notice boards around residential areas etc. This might require you to take in the stray temporarily until a suitable new home is found.

Due to space constraints, animals should only be surrendered to the SPCA as a last resort.

Contributing and helping is not limited to the adults, the Youth make great ambassadors of animal welfare. The SPCA KK also has a youth wing where the younger generation can help organise fun social events and gatherings amongst peers to promote love and care towards animals.

Their devotion and energy are also in high demand to run the animal pound that will be operational soon in Kota Kinabalu.

This project is visionary for building a bridge between responsible animal care and youth development.

Most people help because they love animals. They feel the animals deserve a chance for a better life. Volunteering at the SPCA gives one a learning opportunity on social responsibilities like caring and nursing the less fortunate and those who cannot speak for themselves.

It rewards everyone with a sense of satisfaction and friendship with animals and other fellow volunteers that money cannot buy.

One day, I hope to live in a society of responsible animal lovers, perhaps then we can make 'a world with no more homeless pets' a reality.

The SPCA KK can be reached at http://spcakk.org and www.spcakkadoption. blogspot.com.

Mailing address: PO BOX 17338, 88873 Kota Kinabalu Fax no. : 316936