Animal Welfare Bill 2015 brings more bite in tackling abuse, cruelty

KUALA LUMPUR: The Animal Welfare Bill 2015 was passed by the Dewan Rakyat today, giving more bite to the law in tackling cases of animal abuse.

Those convicted will now be liable to face a fine of between RM20,000 to RM100,000 and a jail term of not more than three years.

Cruelty offences under the bill includes the act of beating, mutilating, poisoning, confining animals in an area that restricts their natural movement, abandoning or the act of allowing cruelty against an animal by its owner.

The bill will now have to be passed by the Dewan Negara before it can be gazetted as law.

Agriculture and Agro-Based Industries Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said with the passing of the bill, local councils will not be allowed to shoot stray dogs as a means of controlling the stray population.

"Local councils found to be doing so can be fined," he said during a press conference in Parliament.

He said the bill provides for the establishment of an Animal Welfare Council to promote and educate people on animal welfare.

"We hope that with the implementation of the act, there will be an increase of awareness among the public to take care of animals," he said, referring to recent cases of animal abuse highlighted in the media.

He added that under the bill, pet shops will now be required to keep animals such as birds and cats in specified spaces and employ proper methods of transporting them.