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Of Strays and Corporate Social Responsibility

Updated: Oct 19

Article by Jacqueline Arnold @ TwentyTwo13 (20 January 2023)

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, and following the December 2021 floods in Taman Sri Muda, Shah Alam, Selangor, I’ve noticed a steep rise in the number of stray dogs in and around Shah Alam.

I believe this is also happening in other areas in Selangor and other states. In fact, golfer friends have also commented on the increase in the stray population in and around golf clubs, too.

So, people complain and local councils react by rounding up the strays and carting them off to a pound, which inevitably becomes overcrowded.

This was no doubt what led to the deplorable conditions of the strays at a certain local authority pound recently, resulting in the local council coming under intense fire.

The result? A big hue and cry on social, and mainstream media, followed by calls from the higher-ups to improve the SOPs in the management of pounds. I wonder, after the dust settles in a couple of weeks, who’ll be checking on the SOPs at these pounds? I think we all can guess the answer to that; and we’ll be back to square one.

I’d like to offer a possible solution. I see a good public relations opportunity here, specifically for golf clubs, the small- and medium-enterprises (SMEs) sector, and even the government.

For golf clubs, I’d like to suggest a sort of ‘feeding-adoption-Trap, Neuter/Spay and Release (TNR) programme’. Golf club grounds (particularly those with housing developments) are already home to packs of strays. Those that get fed by do-gooders are friendly, those that have to fend for themselves, not so much. I suggest the clubs work with feeder, and TNR groups.

The clubs could build a proper pen or shelter for the stray dogs and feed them. Once the dogs know they have a safe place, more will come.

Then, the TNR group gets to work to spay or neuter them in batches. The dogs can be kept in the pen during the day and let out at night to patrol and guard the grounds.

Once it becomes a routine, they will return at mealtime. The dogs can then live out their lives in a humane way, without reproducing. This will keep the number of strays in check, naturally.

If golf clubs buy into this idea, they could make a significant contribution to reducing the stray population, while earning the goodwill of their stakeholders; and perhaps, even put them on the map for visiting (dog lover) golfers from around the world.

Have you ever driven through an industrial area such as Meru or Kampung Subang? If you have, you’d notice that there are always strays on and around the premises of factories.

They are friendly and look well-fed, which means that they have been sort of adopted by the factories. However, they are typically not spayed or neutered.

Perhaps the relevant government agencies or industry associations could offer some incentives to factories that participate in TNR programmes to help keep the stray population in check.

Managed properly, this would certainly put Malaysia on the world map for a good reason. In a world that’s increasingly talking about ESG (environmental, social, and governance) compliance, this would certainly be a big plus point for Malaysian manufacturers targeting Western markets.

Given the increasing concerns about mental health in Malaysia, a third idea is for the relevant experts to look at turning strays into therapy dogs. Perhaps the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or even the Health Ministry, could spearhead a collaboration for a feasibility study on this topic with the veterinary science and psychology departments of universities.

Now, wouldn’t that be something; killing two birds with one stone.

Mahatma Gandhi was reported to have said: “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

I look forward to the day Malaysia becomes a great nation.

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