PETALING JAYA: Enraged dog owners in Malacca have started an online petition to protest a "dog ban" which has garnered more than 6,000 supporters within 24 hours. Malacca is prohibiting dog owners living in intermediate terrace houses from having dogs as pets, exempting those who have obtained their dog licences before 2013, the year when the ruling was made. The online petition was created on Change.org, demanding that this rule be reversed and instead be replaced with one that will encourage responsible dog ownership. The petition will be delivered to state Housing, Local Government and Environment Committee chairman Datuk Ismail Othman and Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron. "Instead of taking action only on those owners whose dogs create problems for their neighbours, they have chosen to take the 'lazy' way out, condemning hundreds or thousands of dogs to a life of suffering and almost certain early death," the petition read. This ruling, if strictly enforced, will force owners to give up their pets to shelters, pounds or even abandon them, which only means an inhumane fate for the dogs. The petition calls on the state government to encourage responsible dog ownership whereby owners be required to spay and vaccinate their pets to reduce unwanted strays and potential spread of diseases. "Owners should also be required to ensure their dogs do not cause unnecessary disturbances by roaming free or excessive barking. Action should only be taken against those who do not comply through fines or other means. Forcing them to give up their dogs should be the last resort," it said further. Dog licences issued prior to 2013 will not be rejected. Owners in corner-terrace units will be allowed to have one dog, those in semi detached houses will be allowed two and bungalow owners can have up to three dogs. All owners would require their neighbours' consent to have dogs. Under the Dogs and Dog Breeding House Licensing by-law (MBMB) new licence applications by terrace house owners will not be approved and this ruling has been in effect since August 2013. To date, 2,956 dog licences have been issued under MBMB.