Cat and dog politics

In the Batu Gajah District in Ipoh, Perak, dog owners are now required to get the consent of their neighbours to get new licences for their pets.

Interesting. But, what about other pets, like cats? If you need to get your neighbours’ consent to keep a dog as a pet, why not the same for cats?

Why single out only dog owners? Not that I disagree with the requirement that was introduced as a test case, according to the local media which reported it.

I’m all for it. But, if I live in Batu Gajah and my neighbour asks for my consent, I won’t give it unless it is stated in the consent papers that he or she will clean up after their dogs poo in public places!

The district council president claimed that the ruling was introduced because of the numerous complaints of residents having too many dogs and that the dogs barked non-stop.

That’s true, dogs are noisy pets, but cats are just as bad. They are not noisy, but their poo is faintingly smelly, and, for some reason, cats are allowed to roam freely in the neighbourhood despite all the poo they scatter about the place, and, worst still, in other people’s gardens!

Now, why isn’t anyone complaining about the unaccountable number of stray cats which sneak into your house and out and poo in your garden and outside your gate on the grass verge on their way out? Now, why?

I suspect it has got to do with the race of the owners of the pets. Everyone knows dog owners are non-Muslims, who in Malaysia are mostly Chinese. Cat owners are mostly Muslims, Malays.

It’s very likely that those who complain about dogs are mostly the Malays. They dare to complain, especially in ruling BN-held areas because they get political backing. And, if their requests are met, it is most certainly for not wanting to antagonize them for fear of losing votes.

In Malaysia, everything now boils down to the vote because the country is split with no side having a distinct majority and the effort is to get votes to gain that majority.

In BN-held constituencies, Chinese support is minimal and they have to give in to Malay dominance to remain in the BN. Hence, they won’t make much noise, especially now, to upset the Malay vote. If BN’s Malay party, Umno, loses, they lose as well.

So, Chinese parties in the BN may pick the battles to fight and cat and dog issues can be overlooked.

So, where does that leave the ordinary citizen who just wants to live in peace and in a clean neighbourhood? Nowhere.

We have to put up with this, literal, shit.

In opposition-held constituencies, it is no better. Subang Jaya , where I live, is under Pakatan Harapan, and the problem persists, even if we don’t need to get our neighbours’ consent to keep pets.

If you go for a walk or jog round the park, you have to keep your eyes glued on the ground to sidestep dog poo! If you take a walk along the residential streets, you’ve to be on the lookout for cat poo! Or, you’ll be walking or jogging along happily enjoying Subang Jaya’s brilliant sunsets, and suddenly you’ll be hit by a whiff that will jolt you out of your reverie, and bring you down to earth. Cat poo!

How to enjoy your neighbourhood?!

At least dog owners keep their pets indoors. Maybe cat owners do the same. But, the latter is also known to feed all the stray cats who visit neighbours’ homes to unload. And, they multiply quickly.

I got new neighbours a year ago. They were from Sarawak and they kept both dogs and cats who co-existed in harmony except that the dog barkings were annoying and cat poo in my garden — not one or two dirty mounds but several! — were distressingly smelly. I couldn’t sit in my living room.

I made a huge spectacle of myself, taking dust pan and scoop, to remove the poo and dump it in the drain before all my neighbours to see to make it clear to them that I was cleaning up their mess! But, I have good neighbours. After awhile, the cats got fewer. My neighbour has moved out and the cats and dogs have gone with them. Thank God!

But, my point is this. Why can’t civil servants get past the race factor and just do the work they are paid for? Pet issues can be easily solved if existing rules are enforced and enforcers sweep streets clean of strays and neuter them. But, enforcement is a four-letter word in government, because it means coming down hard on ordinary folks who are most prone to bribe their way out.

If they are enforced to pay fines and conform to rules, again, the issue is will it lose votes? So, until one side is secure in government with a majority, the rest of us will have to put up with these lapses in government.

I am just hoping and hoping for a clear majority win in the coming general elections!

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