PETALING JAYA, June 28 — The two owners of Petknode were today both fined a total of RM6,000 for animal neglect, after leaving 30 cats starving, dehydrated and covered in faeces at the “pet hotel” over last year’s Hari Raya holidays.
Magistrate Elena Hong Tze Lan let off Shahrul Azuwan Adanan and Yushairi Khairuddin with a RM200 fine for each of the 30 charges against them after they changed their plea to guilty on June 12.
The Star reported her as saying she could not sentence them to jail as she was bound by section 44(2) of the Animal Act 1953, which states that offenders must be given a chance to pay a fine before being sentenced to prison time.
Shahriza Idrus, a volunteer with the Stray Cat Rescue and Treatment Community Help who had helped rescue the emaciated pets from Petknode’s premises in Selangor last year, was stunned by the light sentence. “I was quite disappointed. This is one of the biggest cases in Malaysia of animal abuse so why only RM6,000 for both of them? It should be more,” the animal lover, who attended the sentencing at the magistrate’s court here this morning, told The Malaysian Insider.
“This is heartbreaking for animal lovers. Justice should be done for animal lovers in Malaysia,” she said.
Shahriza said the penalty was not enough of a deterrent, adding the authorities need to “do something” about the Animal Act.
She noted that the Petknode operators were both sentenced under section 44(2) of the animal protection law, which she said only required they pay the fine and if they could not afford it, they would go to prison “for one day only”.
Shahrul Azuwan and Yushairi had been charged under section 44 (1) of the Animals Act, which provides for a maximum six months’ jail, a RM200 fine, or both for each offence upon conviction.
They committed the offences at their store premises at No. F001B, Level 1, Plaza Seasons Square, Jalan PJU 10/3, Damansara Damai, Selangor Petknode had advertised its pet boarding services for as little as RM3.95 a night ahead of Hari Raya celebrations last year.
But pet owners who had taken up the promotional offer to board their animals over the holiday period returned to find their cats emaciated and traumatised after being left unattended for as long as nine days.
Animal rescuers resorted to forcing their way into Petknode’s premises to save up to 150 cats then.
They later banded with the owners of the pets and other animal lovers to call for the boarding centre operators to be jailed, fined and sued.
Shahrul Azuwan and Yushairi had since apologised for the condition of the cats and even thanked the rescuers for fostering 26 cats and a dog that they admitted they were unable to provide adequate care and service as promised, due to their own mismanagement of the animal boarding centre.
p/s: keputusan yang amat menghampakan :(