Owner ties starving dog’s mouth shut, leaves him for dead in drain
Published on: Monday, June 29, 2020
By: Dr Roslee bin Haji Abbas
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Rugby looking helpless in the drain with his mouth tied shut, which prevented him to breathe properly or eat.
HElping Animals Rescue Team (Heart) 

HORRIFIED, heartbroken and worried. That’s likely the range of emotions Heart rescuers (J and M) felt when they made the shocking discovery, recently.

How could someone do this? “Unbelievable!”  We can hardly find the words to describe it. This is what is wrong with society. In a world currently filled with so much uncertainty, this is the lowest of low. This is heartbreaking and disturbing. 

In rescue works, we sometimes think we have seen it all – only to be proven wrong time and again!

This case not only brought us to our knees, but also left us in tears.  

The tears were falling on the abused body of the innocent dog, which has scars from abuse, the rubber band wove tightly around the snout, the malnutritioned and filthy body, the fleas and mange…  

But what broke us even more was how Rugby – as we named him – showed love and affection to us despite being abused by humans. He looked at us with sad eyes as though pleading: “Please show me love! I might not have much time left here, I want to know what love is!” He put his head in one of our rescuer’s laps and with it, his faith and hope! We are still crying as we write this – what type of creature can do this to the most innocent in this world! 

Apparently, he was left there for dead. The owner intentionally placed an elastic rubber band around the dog’s snout in hopes to keep the dog starving to death. We were horrified. 

Sadly, such cruelty keeps happening. Just last month someone taped a puppy’s mouth shut and threw her in a dumpster and was saved by Heart. Seriously, this has got to stop. It’s disgusting.

Meanwhile, Rugby, who is approximately 24-month-old was found it the sad state in Tanjung Aru, at 3.30pm on June 21. The dog was found in a drain during heavy downpour with no owner in sight. We have no idea when the dog was abandoned or how long it had been in the drain. But judging by his condition, it could be up to two whole days. 

A close-up look 

of the rubber band that was tied around 

his mouth.


Rugby appeared to be a bit agitated. We approached him from behind to gently cover his head with a towel to calm him down. The rubber band prevented him from breathing properly and was not able to eat or drink and would eventually die if no one had found him. Rugby’s mouth was severely injured. We knew we had to act quickly to save him. Luckily, we found him just in time. 

We raced the traumatised pooch to an emergency clinic at IAPWA in Inanam. As a result, his mouth was swollen because of the rubber band that was tied around it with the tongue sticking out. 

It had embedded into his skin and severed parts of his muzzle. The clinic believes he was living like this for quite some time. He also has heartworm, anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis and mange! Pretty much the whole array of diseases plus all the fleas and ticks (like he has any blood to give away)! 

The doggo is at the clinic undergoing treatment and we will fight – again! We must try to show him what care, love and safety feel like, we must give him the chance to be pain-free and happy! 

Heart lodged a police report at the Tanjung Aru police station and we are now investigating to try and find the owner of the animal. Those who carry out cruelty to animals without reasonable cause shall be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or a fine not exceeding RM100,000, or both, under the Sabah Animal Welfare Enactment 2015. 

We have spoken to citizens in the area but nobody knew who owned the dog and nobody saw anything suspicious. The search is still on. We will not give up until we find the owner or the thugs who abandoned and abused the pooch. Finding the animal had been an incredible distressing discovery and we urge witnesses to come forward. Anyone with information about this incident can call Heart on 019-862 3314. 

We pledge we will do all we can for the dog, Rugby. 

We receive no government funding and rely on the support and kindness from our community, private donations and charity bazaar to complete our mission. Heart does not euthanise animals to make space to house others. We are a no-kill animal welfare group and work to preserve life whenever possible.

We rely on donations from people like you who are willing to spend their hard-earned money to help animals in dire needs.

We hope you can find it in your heart to assist us with our rescued/abused/homeless animals’ food and medical bills.

Every ringgit helps! Thank you all who will donate, pray, share and think of him tonight! He’s never had that and deserves it tenfold!

Thank you in advance for your generous, big and small (and no donation is too small)!





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