DESPERATE:After the floods, MIAR wants to move to higher ground and also get an animal ambulance
AFTER flash floods hit here recently, homes, cars and businesses that were affected dominated the news.
Few people knew about the 68 dogs that were pulled up by their leash onto a hill by two men working at a dog shelter. The canines were tied to the trees there and shivered in the cold as the caretakers waited for the water to subside.
Volunteers of the Malaysia Independent Animal Rescue (MIAR) watched in agony as dog food, medicines, blankets and cages were swept away by the 1.4m high flood waters.
MIAR is a non-governmental organisation which rescues animals from being put to sleep, strays and animals injured in road accidents.
"Some dogs nearly drowned, while many more became sick after being drenched by the dirty flood water," said MIAR founder, T. Pusparani.
The dog shelter is located on low land which is prone to floods.
"Previous floods only came up to less than a metre so it was easy for us to just put the dogs on their cages. The recent one was the worst and we are afraid it might recur," she said.
They are pleading to organisations or corporate bodies to help them find a better location for the shelter.
"We cannot stay here because the dogs are exposed to many dangers, including snakes," said MIAR ambassador, 2009/2010 Miss World Malaysia Thanuja Ananthan.
"We were aware of the conditions of this place but we had no other choice as the rent here is cheap," she said.
MIAR pays its landlord a monthly rent of RM200.
The dog supplies, especially food and medicine, are usually borne by the volunteers who run the shelter.
The shelter needs about RM7,000 monthly but due to the flood, it is seeking RM10,000 as medical bills for the animals were quite high.
The volunteers are nevertheless building a 1.5m high evacuation platform costing RM3,000 in the shelter's compound, lest floods hit again.
"Even the platform cannot accommodate all 68 dogs and we have new dogs coming in everyday," Pusparani said.
With only five regular volunteers, Pusparani also said that it is not easy to get dog lovers to volunteer for long term.
"It is not an easy job. We are dealing with lives here and these dogs must be treated well, which include feeding and caring for their health.
"We also dream of getting an animal ambulance, to help animals during emergency," she said, adding that there are no animal ambulances yet in Malaysia.
Thanuja acknowledged that animal awareness in Malaysia has grown but there are no laws governing their wellbeing and action is only taken when cruelty occurs.
"Animals cannot speak. When they cry, people do not hear them," she said.
After the recent flood, some kind people donated recycled zinc sheets to the shelter to replace the zinc walls that were washed away.
Adoption drives are held every Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 5pm and volunteers are welcome at any time of the day.
For enquiries, call Pusparani at 012-399 2021 or visit MIAR's Facebook page.