KLANG: The controversial case involving a dog owner filmed allegedly abusing his husky at his condominium in Kajang has taken multiple twists.

The latest development sees the Veterinary Services Department warning animal rescuers and rescue groups not to take matters into their own hands when dealing with abuse cases.

“The Veterinary Services Department advises individuals and associations related to animal welfare to forward complaints to the department and not initiate their own actions, which could jeopardise investigations,” it said in a statement.

The Veterinary Services Department added that it takes false accusations made against the department in the media and on social media platforms very seriously.

“Given this, the Veterinary Services Department will not hesitate to initiate legal action against those involved,” the statement added.

The drama unfolded after a neighbour recorded a video of the dog being beaten repeatedly by its owner, which then circulated on social media.

Dog lovers and netizens were furious to see the man continuing to pummel the dog on the head even after it appeared to have collapsed.

Following this, the dog was removed by independent rescuer Shima Aris and admitted to a private veterinary clinic to be examined for injuries.

According to relevant postings and photos on social media, the owner had willingly given up the dog and admitted to beating it whenever it ‘was naughty’.

Subsequently, the Veterinary Services Department turned up at the clinic and removed the dog, which led to allegations circulating on social media that the canine was returned to its abusive owner.

The department said in its statement that it received an official report pertaining to the abuse on July 1, and officers visited the premises the following day at 11am.

“We found that the husky had been removed by an individual and placed at a veterinary clinic in Kota Damansara.

“Acting on that information, the Veterinary Services Department took possession of the husky to be examined by a veterinary officer and for investigation,” said the statement.

It added that an investigation paper had been opened under Section 29(1)(a) of the Animal Welfare Act 2015 (Act 772), which provides a fine of not less than RM20,000 and not more than RM100,000, or a jail term of not more than three years, or both, if the culprit is found guilty.

The Veterinary Services Department added that the suspect’s statement has also been recorded, and the investigation papers will be referred to the Deputy Public Prosecutor’s office as soon as possible for further instructions.

Meanwhile, Shima said she hoped the matter would be dealt with accordingly.

“I trust the Veterinary Services Department will handle this issue and future issues as fairly as they can,” she added.

Another animal activist, who declined to be named, said technicalities and bureaucratic delays could mean the loss of animal lives.

“The priority is to stop the abuses or save the lives of these animals,” she said, adding there have been cases of animals being set on fire reported in the media.

Animal activist and rescuer Joanne Low concurred that the lives and safety of abused animals must take priority.

However, she added that rescuers and rescue groups must work together with authorities such as the Veterinary Services Department to ensure abusers are brought to justice.

“Since only authorities such as the Veterinary Services Department can bring abusers to court, rescuers must work together with the department to ensure the culprits are punished,” she said.

Low added that the Veterinary Services Department must also initiate an amicable working relationship with rescuers and rescue groups by involving them in the investigation of abuse cases.

“Once the dog or cat has been examined by a Veterinary Services Department officer and a report has been drawn up, animals without any physical injuries that require treatment can be released into the custody of rescuers involved in the case,” she added.

Low said rescuers who are temporary custodians of the cat or dog must, on their part, give an undertaking to produce the animal whenever required if the abuser is charged.

“It’s a win-win solution for all,” she added.