KLANG (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Dog lovers and animal activists are up in arms against the government of Malaysia's state of Malacca's decision banning residents living in intermediate terrace houses from keeping dogs.
PAWS Animal Welfare Society kennel manager Edward Lim said the move contradicted clauses stipulated in the new Animal Welfare Act 2015 passed by Parliament recently.
The law outlaws dumping of animals, which Mr Lim said the decision would force dog owners to do.
"Forcing people to dump their pet dogs is an act of sheer cruelty," he said.
He added it would also create a situation of mass euthanasia as some owners would rather put their dogs to sleep than hand them over to the local council.
Malaysian Dogs Deserve Better (MDDB) rescue coordinator Irene Low said the decision was essentially denying some people the right to own pets.
"Why is the state government forcing people to abandon their dogs? Why victimise pets dogs in this manner?" asked Ms Low.
Ms Low added the decision was akin to asking people who could only afford to live in intermediate terrace houses to throw out a family member.
Johor Baru SPCA vice-chairman Jacqueline Gomez was also upset by the state government's move.
"We must not let this happen and allow it to become a precedent for other states to follow," she said.
Dog lovers have also started an online campaign to petition the Malacca state government over the decision.
Previously, Malacca residents were allowed to keep dogs as long as they obtained their neighbours' consent.
But under the current ruling, only those living in corner terrace houses can keep up to two dogs whilst those living in intermediate units are prohibited from owning canines.
The state's Housing, Local Government and Environment Committee chairman Ismail Othman said that the new ruling had received the Malacca State Legislative Assembly's approval.