GEORGE TOWN: Even pedigree dogs are being neglected these days as people get back to their pre-pandemic schedule of working-from-office, said Penang Animal Welfare Society (4Paws) founder Barbara Janssen.

“My shelter has rescued at least seven ‘former’ pets including a poodle, a schnauzer and two shih tzus over the past few weeks. They were dumped in markets and food courts on the island and mainland.

“I know that they used to be pets because they are friendly. It is cruel to just get rid of them, just because the owners do not have the time to care for them anymore.

“When a dog is bought or adopted, it must be for life and they are not meant to be discarded like rubbish,” she said yesterday.

Janssen, 77, said a rescuer even came across an eight-month-old pug, which would have cost its former owner a few thousand ringgit, in a dog carrier left by the roadside on the mainland a few months back.

“Some of the rescued pedigree dogs have since been adopted. Whenever someone comes to my shelter wanting to adopt a dog, I will ask them a series of questions to ensure that they make suitable owners,” she said.

“It is good to see that Penang Island City Council (MBPP) no longer has a kill policy on strays. Instead, it adopted the ‘trap, neuter, release or rehome’ (TNR) programme in 2018,” she added.

Janssen said that she currently has over 600 adult dogs and 30 puppies at her shelter in Teluk Bahang.

MBPP’s Stray and Abandoned Dog sub-committee chairman Connie Tan said since the TNR programme started in March 2018, a total of 3,638 dogs were neutered as of last month.

“We partnered with International Aid for the Protection and Welfare of Animals (IAPWA) Penang to humanely handle captured dogs through the TNR programme.

“The Penang Veterinary Services Department has put up signs in markets and food courts warning of the consequences of abusing or abandoning animals under the Animal Welfare Act,” she said.

Tan said MBPP has a mobile counter going around the local markets to encourage the public to licence their pets so that they can be tracked if they get lost.

For more information on the TNR programme, check out IAPWA’s Facebook page (IAPWA Penang) or Instagram account (IAPWA Penang).