Wed Mar 06 2024

Premier animal welfare platform strives to find good homes for strays

Animal Welfare
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Originally published on Malaysiakini by Indra Sathiabalan. Published: Jan 28, 2024

A chance encounter with a stray puppy led technopreneur Andy Koh to establish - a premier animal welfare platform - in 2008.

Through this platform, Koh shares his vision with other animal lovers to fight for the welfare of animals, provide them with the love and care they deserve, and on how we should treat these creatures responsibly.

In an interview with Malaysiakini, Koh said the idea to create emerged when he rescued that stray puppy.

“There were no proper platforms to find homes for strays, so I placed a newspaper classified ad to find adopters.

“I was pleasantly surprised by the responses, and that sparked the idea of creating a digital platform that can effectively unite and empower animal shelters and rescuers,” explained the 43-year-old.

A dog lover, Koh vowed to help lobby for harsher penalties on animal cruelty and to properly educate the public on caring for their pets.

Koh explained that the animals featured on are rescued and fostered directly by rescuers and shelters.

“Most of them are independent rescuers - compassionate people who come across stray, injured animals, nurse them back to health at their own houses and find loving families for them.”

There are over 200,000 animals featured on the platform, with 71,000 already adopted and 26,000 still waiting for someone to take them home.

Adopt don’t shop

Koh admitted that it was initially hard to convince people to adopt pets instead of buying a kitten or puppy from breeders.

“Fortunately, it has become easier in recent years, thanks to the widespread collaboration of media, organisations, events and the public.

“People are now much more attuned to the plight of homeless animals and the benefits of pet adoption. Adopting a pet is also more convenient now.”


More people are inclined to rescue animals, he said, knowing that it has become easier to adopt via platforms such as his and social media.

“Many of these people are ‘serial’ rescuers who continue saving strays, dedicating a lot of time and resources. When they happen to come across homeless or injured animals, they will kindly send the animals for treatment and rehome them.

“Rescuing animals also depends on the suitability of personal conditions, such as whether they have the time or resources to care for the animals.

“For those who are unable to undertake rescue work, many would help spread the word, search for feasible alternatives, or donate to support them,” Koh said.

He added that his organisation's core mission is to develop technology that can improve animal welfare.

AI for rescue efforts, conservation

Koh’s over two decades of experience in e-commerce and internet technologies certainly helped him with his cause as also develops tech and artificial intelligence (AI) solutions, collaborating with global NGOs to help with animal welfare and environment conservation efforts across the world.

AI solutions are used to address anti-poaching issues in the forests and reduction of human-wildlife conflicts.

They offer consultancy and affordable solutions to global welfare organisations should they wish to embark on AI or tech efforts, helping bridge the technology gap.

They have also developed a pioneering meat-free lifestyle platform - - to help combat cruelty towards farm animals and promote a plant-based diet.

With technology, also developed solutions to boost pet adoption with leading global data scientists, through a partnership with Google's Kaggle data science community.

“On PetFinder, we have AI features like PetGPT that help rescuers craft engaging pet profiles within seconds, a Cuteness Meter to guide them on taking more appealing pet photos, and data science models to analyse and improve the performance of pet profiles.

"More AI features will be released soon,” Koh promised.


Project Save is working with Malaysiakini’s Sokong to help raise funds for their cause - Project Save (Stray Assistance & Volunteer Empowerment).

“Sokong's team kindly invited PetFinder to join the platform. It is very well-designed, and we love the idea of a platform that can support and empower welfare organisations.

“With Malaysiakini's excellent reach, it helps generate wider awareness of our welfare mission and fundraising efforts,” Koh added.

He said the money will primarily be used to enhance the platform's technology, where thousands of rescuers and shelters would benefit from more effective rescue-and-rehome efforts.

“Project Save is a logistics network that can help source aid and volunteers,” he added.

by malaysiakini

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