Sokong Team
Fri Feb 23 2024

A literal ‘put to sleep’ ended culling of strays in Negeri Sembilan

Animal Welfare
This article features :

A picture of ‘sleeping’ dogs as a photo opportunity for a visiting politician in 2018 to a state-operated animal shelter changed the fate of stray dogs in Negeri Sembilan.

The dogs were euthanised by the district council in a round-up operation of strays. When the council workers told the politician that the dogs had been ‘put to sleep’, he took it literally; that the dogs were sleeping.

The picture and the politician’s ignorance cooked up a storm. By 2019, championed by the DAP’s Negeri Sembilan State leader and Assemblyperson, Anthony Loke, and Furrykids Safehaven, the State adopted a ‘no kill’ policy under the NS Second Life project. It is only the second State after Penang to have this policy.


What started as a rescue of 84 dogs from being euthanised by the KL City Council (DBKL) in the basement of a Brickfields parking lot in 2017 has grown to a shelter of 6.6 acres in Kuala Sawah, Negeri Sembilan, holding 2,000 rescued dogs.

“The previous shelter was less than two acres and close to residential areas, so it wasn’t suitable, but we moved because, in November 2020, we were hit by flash floods.

“We lost 54 dogs that same night and over 30 more post-flood due to complications that they suffered from the flood.

“It was the first flash flood in 80 years. The water rose very quickly, up to seven feet,” said Ms Jeskiran Bhatt, President of Furrykids Safehaven since 2021.

While the previous shelter was close to a residential suburb, the current shelter is on high ground in an agricultural area. In the vicinity are storage facilities, secondary jungle, and oil palm plantations, an ideal location for 2,000 dogs.


Acquired on a rental at the end of 2020, and after all the necessary work needed to be done was completed, 400 dogs were transferred to their new home in January 2021.

By June, the rest of the 1,800 dogs were transferred, and now 2,000 happy canines are being cared for at Furrykids Safehaven.

The shelter consists of kennels for dogs that need care or must be segregated for several reasons, such as nursing mothers with their pups and new rescues and large free-roaming areas for healthy ones with appropriate huts and lean-tos for shelter.

There are also workers’ quarters housing the 13 full-time staff that see to the daily needs of the dogs and handle repairs and general upkeep of the shelter, kitchen, and store rooms.

The costs of running animal shelters are astronomically high.

“Between RM90,000 and RM120,000 monthly together with fixed costs like utilities, rental of the land, and salaries of the workers,” said Ms Bhatt.

The rental of the property is RM5,600 a month, and the rental is secured for another five years, having been renewed last December.

“We currently have 13 full-time staff who live on the premises in the workers’ quarters.

“The variable expenses are veterinary bills, depending on the number of rescues and the extent of medical treatment needed.

“There have been instances when the case is so bad that it can cause up to RM20,000 in veterinary bills,” Ms Bhatt explained.


“And food is the single largest expenditure; up to RM75,000 on kibbles alone a month,” she revealed.

Although public donations play a large part in funding the shelter, about RM40 to RM50,000 a month, shelter members are often called upon to top-up to meet the monthly costs.

“So, our credit cards are maxed out,” quipped Ms Bhatt.

“Sometimes we see a spike in donations mid-year to about RM80,000.00,” she added.

The shelter also receives corporate sponsorships by way of kibbles.

“We go through 44 bags of kibbles every day, and corporate sponsorships of food are very welcomed,” she added.

Other than kibbles, the shelter cooks 200kgs of rice and 200kgs of chicken for the sick, weak, and elderly dogs, which would benefit from the fat, and for those who can’t eat kibble.

Seriously sick dogs are given canned food.

However, in 2021, donations and sponsorships took a big dip when it was revealed that a so-called pet rescuer and shelter had been scamming the public into donating to a shelter that did not exist; they were operating pet shops.


“They published pictures of dogs that had been manipulated to show that they were in bad conditions and needed medical care and attention to garner public sympathy, and then after raking in a lot of money, they disappeared,” revealed Ms Batt.

“The situation has improved, but it’s important for donors to check on the veracity of shelters,” she advised.

Other than donations and corporate sponsorships, Furrykids Safehaven sells merchandise such as T-shirts, mugs, herbal pet soaps, and keychains, for funds.

So how can the public help animal rescuers and shelters like Furrykids Safehaven?


“Fostering, especially for mother dogs and puppies because the shelter may not be an ideal environment for them, adopting, donating, sponsoring a dog, say RM100 a month, volunteering at the shelter or our adoption events,” Ms Bhatt said.

To ease the number of dogs, the shelter also conducts adoption drives, but the potential adopters have to meet conditions such as they must live on landed property, the dog is not caged or tied up, it must be treated as a family member, it must be vaccinated annually, it must be neutered/spayed, and the adopter is to update the shelter as to condition of the dog.

“And the dog must be returned to Furrykids Safehaven if the adopter can no longer care for it,” said Ms Bhatt.

You can support the furkids by donating through Sokong where you can opt for either a one-off donation or monthly donation.

Donations can also be directed to: Persatuan Penyelamat Haiwan Terbiar Furrykids Safehaven CIMB 8009081090

Donations above RM50 to the Furrykids Safehaven are entitled to tax exemption receipt. Please email your donation receipt to [email protected].

by malaysiakini

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