22 May 2023
Press statement by MCA Spokesperson Saw Yee Fung
Amend Animal Welfare Act 2015 to include doing time at a dog pound or animal shelters
MCA notes the reason by the High Court to revoke the sentence of 7 strokes of light caning which was imposed by the Sessions Court against teenager Braden Yap Hong Sheng, whereby, the decision was made based on provisions under Section 293 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), where two sentences cannot be imposed on an accused.
In March this year, the 18-year old had set a female pooch on fire, sparking public outrage. It is doubtable to assume that public consternation has assuaged as the teenager has eluded public caning.
Considering the excruciating pain an innocent 4-legged creature had to suffer besides an increase in reported animal maltreatment in recent times coupled with other unknown cases of animals being tortured, there is a need to create public awareness against animal abuse.
It is hoped that such publicity may reduce the likelihood of humans inflicting harm against furry or feathered creatures. Concurrently, it becomes undesirable that would-be perpetrators will cite this case as a precedent and assume they will walk free with only a one-year good behaviour bond.
A few revisions to the Animal Welfare Act 2015 may serve to lessen instances of brutality against animals.
As an example, for first-time underage offenders who have been cooperative in police investigations, judges could be given the discretion to instruct that animal abusers be sentenced to community service with a specific intention of cleaning up animal pounds or animal shelters on a weekly basis for a minimum of four hours up to 3 years.
When placed in such a location, the youth offender would be exposed hands-on to canines or felines which have been abandoned by their owners, or were victims of hit-and-run accidents, or injured by owners or the public. It is aspired that such exposures will inculcate care and empathy for animals besides inducing contrition.
This community service sentencing will also lessen government expenses for dog pounds. Likewise, animal shelters which rely on public donations and volunteer services will be a beneficiary of an additional human resource.