Thursday, January 20, 2011

Dog owners with unapproved structures may be fined nine times the processing fee

AWAM is very disturbed with the new in the Star today regarding MBPJ's requirement for dog owners to obtain building permission for outdoor kennels.

Outdoor kennels are mostly lightweight structures that are purchased directly from pet stores and are structures that can be moved easily, and therefore pose no nuisance to neighbours. So why should there be a need to obtain building permission for these kennels?

An approved dog shelter???

Other than that, the picture of the "approved"dog shelter as published in The Star is a far cry from what animal lovers would constitute as appropriate shelter for their dogs. The picture shows a steel structure - with a roof - that is exposed on all sides. This structure will provide little or no protection from the elements if placed in the wrong area within the compound of the house. As we know we get terrible storms quite regularly in Malaysia, and with this kind of shelter, the animal will get completely drenched. Other than that, this shelter does not provide adequate shelter from the strong rays of the sun.

A proper shelter should be enclosed (with adequate ventilation ) and prefereably made of high quality timber to protect the animal from the rain and the sun.

Additionally, the stipulation that no changes can be made to the kennel once the structure has been built is absurd. What if the structure that has been built is flawed and perhaps still exposes the animal to the rain or sun? Can the owners not modify this to ensure that their pets are well protected?

MBPJ believes that the standardisation of these kennels will ensure that the pets do not become a nuisance to their neighbours. This therefore implies that MBPJ believes that dogs should be caged most of the time.

MBPJ's views are seriously flawed as dogs are less of a nuisance to the public if left free inside the house or within the house's compound. Animal experts all agree that dogs that are caged or chained for long periods of time are more likely to be aggressive as they become more territorial. Caged or chained dogs also tend to be nuisance barkers as they become bored and frustrated with being confined to a small area. They will therefore will bark at anything and everything to gain the attention of their owners - even if it just means getting a shout from their owners to be quiet.

Dogs should only be caged or chained when absolutely necessary, e.g. if there are work-men in the house compound, or during a storm to keep the animal safe.

MBPJ should instead focus on relevant aspects of animal care to ensure that dogs are not considered a nuisance to the general public. MBPJ should ensure that dog owners care for their dogs proper, and emphasise responsible dog ownership. Dog owners should be encouraged to take their dogs out to be exercised and properly socialised. Dogs that are well trained and treated as part of the family (i.e. kept indoors) are less likely to be a nuisance to the public.

AWAM hopes that MBPJ will NOT impose this absurd ruling on dog owners and concentrate instead on more important issues such as curbing the stray population of dogs and cats by providing free or subsidised spaying/neutering services to the public.


Dog owners with unapproved structures may be fined nine times the processing fee

Source: The Star
Date: 20 January 2011

DOG owners with outdoor kennels built without approved building plan as required by the Petaling Jaya City Council’s (MBPJ) Building Control Department (BCD) risk being slapped with a fine nine times the processing fee.

Dog owners may have to pay close to RM13,000 if work has begun on the kennel.

MBPJ public relations officer Zainun Zakaria said it was important that dog owners followed the standard approved building plan and adhered to the required setback at the front and common boundaries shared with neighbouring houses.

“Our aim is not to cause difficulties to dog lovers but to standardise the pattern of kennels and ensure that the pet does not become a nuisance to the neighbours. We advise all dog owners who have built kennels to come forward and submit the plans,” she said.

Under its fast approval initiative for minor renovations within the standard plan that promises approval in two hours, the fee charged is RM200 for one set of standard plan, processing fee of RM50 for one set of application forms, RM324 for the permit for building material, RM10 for BCD approval sticker, RM500 payment for the Alam Flora bin to contain the construction waste as well as a deposit of RM350.

The deposit is refunded once all the building waste is removed from the site.

Zainun said that to-date, MBPJ had issued 10,026 dog licences but no one had come forward to submit plans for kennels.

“If a neighbour complains of a kennel built too close to their wall and the complaint is justified, MBPJ’s enforcement department can issue a compound for failure to conform to the building plans,” she said.

While the ruling has been in place since 2006, MBPJ has never enforced it but plans to start this year.

Zainun further said that if a neighbour complained that a dog kennel was causing a nuisance, the council was empowered to remove the unapproved structure under the Local Government Act 1976 (Act 171) Section 81.

Proper shelter: Simple dog kennels like this are approved by the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) after the building plans are approved with a fee.

According to MBPJ’s ruling, the kennel must not be taller than 1.8m and should be sited on a cement floor area that should not exceed 4.6sq m. The kennel walls should be made of timber, steel grille or hollow blocks.

In addition, the roof must be within the house fence and once built, no changes are allowed.

An owner of three Huskies, who did not wish to be named, said MBPJ should have someone to advise dog owners in deciding the location of the kennel. He said the kennel should face away from the road to ensure that the dog does not bark incessantly but was ready to pounce if an intruder came in.

PAWS Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) chairman Edward Lim said MBPJ’s move to impose building plans for dog kennels was unnecessary.

“MBPJ must rescind its ruling on dog kennels as the stand alone light-weight structure within the compound does not affect the neighbour’s house. It is completely unnecessary.

“If the city council goes ahead with the ruling, it will discourage people from providing proper shelter to man’s best friend,” he said.

PAWS volunteer Molly Brown felt the council’s move was unjustified and that the multiple fees were not needed for individual dog owners.

“MBPJ can impose the kennel ruling on breeders who breed dogs for commercial purpose due to the number of dogs involved. But it should not use the same ruling for dog owners as long as the kennel structure does not obstruct the view of the neighbours or cause nuisance,” she said.

She added that the council must instead take steps to encourage dog owners to neuter their pets to prevent the problem of stray animals.

Dog lover P. Thiagarajan said MBPJ should spend their energy and efforts on getting dog trainers to provide free training on Sundays at parks in a bid to encourage owners to be caring towards their pets, instead of imposing rulings for kennels.

“We need such training and even guidance on what to feed the dogs according to the breed. If the council does this than we will have less people who abandon their dogs in Petaling Jaya,” he said.

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