CRUELTY TO ANIMALS: Two pet boarding centre owners fined RM6,000
PETALING JAYA: ANIMAL lovers wept while a small number shouted profanities at two pet boarding centre owners who escaped jail sentences for cruelty to animals by not feeding and cleaning the cages of 30 cats left in their care during the last Hari Raya Aidilfitri holidays.
Instead, Shahrul Azuwan Adanan and Yushairi Khairuddin, both 30, were jointly fined RM6,000.
As they emerged from the magistrate's court after the sentencing yesterday, two women who had left their cats with them during the festive season last September shouted profanities at them, while other animal rescue volunteers, wearing red, shook their head in disbelief.
One volunteer from the Stray Cats Rescue and Treatment Community Help movement, Shahriza Idrus, with tears in her eyes said: "This is shocking, how can they be let off like this?"
Magistrate K.B. Elena Hong Tze Lan, in her judgment said she was bound by Section 44(2) of the Animals Act which stated that if the owner had committed cruelty by way of having failed to exercise care and supervision over an animal, the owner shall not be liable to imprisonment without the option of a fine.
She then imposed a fine of RM200 for each of the 30 charges against them.
Shahrul and Yushairi had on June 12 pleaded guilty to the joint charges and admitted to being negligent by not feeding the cats and cleaning their cages, resulting in them suffering.
The offences were committed on Sept 3 and 4.
The cats belonged to 10 pet owners who had "checked in" the felines at the Petknode Online Pet Store in Damansara Damai during the Hari Raya break last year.
They were charged under Section 44(1)(d) of the Animals Act, which carries a maximum fine of RM200, or up to six months' jail, or both.
It was revealed in court earlier, when the duo pleaded guilty, that eight of the cats had died.
Four belonged to an owner who left her cats at the centre from Aug 26 to Sept 4. She reportedly had paid nearly RM200 for the pet hotel services.
When she went to the centre on Sept 4, her cats were dirty and smelly and eventually died.
Yesterday, two cat owners who had left their five cats at the centre last September said that they were collectively, with other affected cat owners, thinking of taking civil action against the Petknode owners.
One of them, who only wanted to be known as Sabera, said that the magistrate had looked at Section 44(2) which refers to animal owners.
"I'm not a lawyer, but that section is for animal owners. Shahrul and Yushairi are not owners. So that section, which says that owners shall not be liable to jail without the option of a fine, should not apply to them."
Another pet owner, Zubina, said that during mitigation on June 12, the prosecution had failed to highlight the fact that those who sent their cats to Petknode were not regulars, as claimed by the defence counsel.