KUALA LUMPUR: What do you do when you see someone abusing an animal?
Animal rights activist Rajesh Nagarajan lists four things, in that order, that you can do:
1.Take pictures or record a video of the act of abuse.
2. Defuse the situation.
3. Save the animal from further abuse.
4. Report the matter to the police.
Rajesh, who is a lawyer, said the eye-witness should take his or her own safety into account when trying to defuse the situation and save the animal from further abuse.
“After that, the eye-witness should promptly lodge a police report and provide the police with whatever evidence he or she may have to facilitate the investigation,” he told Bernama.
He also said that absence of evidence, such as photographs or a video clip, should not deter any eye-witness from lodging a report as the police should be afforded every opportunity to investigate.
“All police officers must, by virtue of Section 107(4) of the Criminal Procedure Code, receive any report made any person in relation to any matter whatsoever,“ he pointed out.
Instead of going to the police, some eye-witnesses have posted pictures or video clips of animal torture on social media platforms, especially of late.
Another lawyer, Sachpreetraj Singh Sohanpal, said “this is presumably due to the people’s perception that the authorities are slow to act on instances of animal abuse”.
“There seems to be a trust deficiency and people think that sharing such instances increases awareness among the public and, in turn, hopefully pressures the authorities to act,“ he said.
He had a word of caution though.
Netizens who come across such posts must first identify and verify the source before sharing and making comments so as to avoid sharing fake or unverified content.
“Sharing fake content is an offence under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 which provides for a maximum fine of RM50,000 or a jail term of up to one year, or both,“ he said.
Malaysian Animal Association president Arie Dwi Andika said animal cruelty cases must be taken seriously as there are still many people who commit this crime without mercy or remorse.
“We are here not only to rescue animals but to ensure justice as well. But, before we act on impulse, we need as much proper visual evidence of the act and the perpetrator as we can.
“The eye-witness must first lodge a police report. We cannot take action merely on hearsay. To lodge a report, the complainant should submit supportive evidence like closed-circuit television footage.
Arie cited an incident in 2019 where a perpetrator was sentenced to a jail term of 15 months after he pleaded guilty to killing a cat by strangling it with a string and hanging up the carcass.
“The availability of the footage which captured the perpetrator committing the act would have strengthened the case and justice was served,“ he said. -Bernama