PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The operator of Cheras Leisure Mall in Malaysia has suspended a security guard who allegedly bashed a street dog to death, saying it will take further action if the individual was found responsible for the incident.
The popular shopping mall came under fire after one of its security guards allegedly bashed the dog to death with a heavy wooden bat.
According to a resident living near the mall, the incident happened at about midnight on Saturday (April 2).
"My family and I heard a dog howling three times from the car park of the mall with the third and final howl being the most pitiful," said Mr Lye Jin Kit, 25.
Mr Lye said he rushed to the carpark with his brother and parents, and saw a foreign security guard standing over the dying dog with the bat still in his hand.
He said the dog was still alive but was bleeding from the head and its eyes had also turned red.
"We were scolding the guard when his supervisor came to the scene and took the bat away. He told us he did not instruct the guard to hit the dog to death," said Mr Lye.
Mr Lye said he believed the dog could have taken shelter at the entrance of the mall, adding that the guard may have chased it in and cornered the animal before hammering it to death.
"It had been raining heavily at that time and the dog may have just been taking shelter there," he added.
Mr Lye said his mother had seen the dog around and she believed it was a dumped pet as the animal was clean and well-kept.
In a statement on Sunday (April 3), the mall operator said that it was currently investigating the incident and that the management took the matter seriously.
"We are and always have been strictly against the animal cruelty and we are disappointed to learn about the incident.
"Our team is currently investigating to find out what had really happened," read the statement that was posted on the mall's Facebook page.
The mall operator assured that necessary action would be taken against the security guard if he was found to be responsible for the violence.
"At the moment, the said person has been suspended from his job until further notice.
"If found responsible, the company that provided the security services will be terminated," it read.
A mall employee earlier said the guard belonged to a private company hired by the mall management to provide security services.
Lawyer Mohan Ramakrishnan urged the Department of Veterinary Services to act and at the same time, advised animal rescue groups and animal lovers to be cautious on how they handle the matter.
"For proper prosecution and delivery of justice, the investigations should not be marred by unnecessary drama," said Mr Mohan.
Malaysian Mental Health Association deputy president Andrew Mohanraj said the incident highlighted the need for all security services companies to ensure their guards undergo a psychiatric and psychological evaluation.
"Why did the guard turn so violent and fly into a rage over a small matter such as a street dog taking shelter at the car park? Something must be terribly wrong," he added.
He said the mall management should also request the guard to go through a urine test to find out if the man was under the influence of drugs.