Citizens Journal
Tue May 21 2024

Malaysian Dogs Deserve Better: A beacon of hope for strays

Animal Welfare

Originally published on Citizen’s Journal Published: April 3, 2024

Malaysian Dogs Deserve Better, the country’s biggest no-kill dog shelter, provides a loving home for hundreds of rescued pups. Learn about their fight for a more humane future for strays.

In a country where euthanasia is a common method of stray dog control, Malaysian Dogs Deserve Better (MDDB) stands out as a champion for compassion.

Founded by journalist Wani Muthiah, MDDB has become the nation’s largest no-kill dog shelter, offering a safe haven for hundreds of abandoned and injured animals.

A growing movement, strained resources


Wani recalls the early days, “Back then we were the Malaysiakini of animal rescue in Malaysia,” referencing an alternative Malaysian news outlet known for its insightful journalism.

She took a bold step in 2009, storming a local council pound and rescuing nine dogs.

“From then on,” Wani said, “I started writing about saving strays and provided a veterinary clinic account number for donations.”

The public’s overwhelming response of RM35,000 ignited a flame that continues to burn brightly today.


MDDB’s dedication sparked a movement, inspiring a wave of smaller rescue organisations.

While this growth bolstered animal welfare efforts overall, it also stretched resources thin across the board.

Battling for every bowl of food


The dedication of MDDB is evident in the sheer number of lives they touch.

They currently care for a staggering 500 dogs – 400 at their main shelter and an additional 100 disabled dogs at a halfway house.

These animals receive not just a roof over their heads, but also essential veterinary care, rehabilitation, and a nutritious diet.

Feeding alone is a massive undertaking. The dogs alternate between rice and kibble, consuming a mountain of food – 80kg of rice and a staggering 100kg of kibble on their respective feeding days.

MDDB goes above and beyond by providing cooked meals with chicken, liver, and ground neck for a balanced diet.


This love comes at a cost. MDDB shoulders a monthly burden of RM70,000 to RM80,000 to keep their operations running. Transparency is a core principle for the organisation – donors directly pay the kibble and rice suppliers.

“Our donors know their money is going straight to the cause,” explains Wani.

The dedication extends far beyond finances. MDDB directors and volunteers selflessly donate their time and skills.

A rule prohibits anyone from drawing a salary, and some even contribute their own funds to cover expenses.

Fighting for a more humane solution


Despite their unwavering commitment, MDDB faces a harsh reality – stray dog culling persists behind closed doors by local councils.

“Things haven’t changed much,” Wani laments.

This brutal practice stands in stark contrast to MDDB’s advocacy for Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR) programs.

Recently, Tengku Permaisuri Selangor, Tengku Permaisuri Norashikin, expressed her disagreement with Shah Alam City Council’s (MBSA) proposed task force operation to capture and euthanise 500 stray dogs in the township.


MDDB argues that neutering and releasing healthy dogs eliminates the need for further intervention, requiring only basic care and food.

Wani believes the responsibility for managing stray populations lies with local councils, urging them to adopt humane and transparent approaches.

Effective TNR programs, she argues, offer a viable solution to stray dog control.

MDDB’s fight for survival is further threatened by a decline in donations due to the rising cost of living.


To address this challenge, they see online fundraising platforms like Sokong as a potential lifeline.

“Many people are in tune with the online platforms,” they said. “Sokong would be a perfect platform to raise funds.”

By donating through platforms like Sokong, volunteering time, or simply raising awareness, the public can play a crucial role.

The future of hundreds of dogs – playful pups, senior companions, and even those battling disabilities – hinges on our collective action.

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by malaysiakini

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