Campaign to save stray animals
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
THREE sisters have started a campaign to save stray animals and encourage members of the public to adopt the furry friends following inaction from the authorities.
Faridah Daud, Rozi Daud and Liza Daud initiated the Facebook page “Please Adopt, Don’t Let Them Strays” to help stray cats and dogs in the country to be adopted by other animal lovers.
The Facebook page, which was set up eight months ago, has attracted more than 1,700 members.
“My sisters and I have been saving strays since we were kids. When we look at these stray animals, we feel empathy for the animals. We can see that there are a lot of strays everywhere, not just in Brunei, be it cats or dogs,” said Faridah.
She shared that it was their parents who first fostered the love for animals in them.
“We would usually feed any strays around our house, so from there onwards, it has nurtured our love for animals,” she said.
Her sister, Rozi, shared that they are not an organisation but animal lovers who volunteer to help rescue and nurse stray animals.
They used to have a larger space to accommodate rescued stray cats at their old house, allowing them to ensure cleanliness and allocate a designated place for cat litter so that it is not enclosed and smelly.
“But now that we have moved to a new residence, we have to be considerate of our neighbours too as some have approached us that they are not keen of us keeping cats in the neighbourhood. So we had to give away some of our cats to other cat lovers who are willing to adopt,” added Rozi.
Hence, the sisters decided to establish the Facebook page to call for others to help adopt the stray animals.
Facebook as an education tool
“The reason we set up the Facebook page in the first place is to network with other animal lovers in Brunei. Much to our surprise, there are a lot!
“In a way, we want the page to be a platform to help convey the message of finding stray animals and posting this information online for other individuals who are interested to adopt,” added Faridah.
Currently, the page has evolved for other animal lovers, especially cats and dogs, to share information and tips on caring for strays and pets.
“Ultimately, we cannot help all strays but at least this will be a platform for other animal lovers who can help rescue and nurse these animals.”
The three sisters believe education at home is the most effective tool to promote awareness.
“We should remind our children that animals are God’s creations too. We observe children throwing stones at stray animals. We should be responsible to explain to them that we should not do that as this will make the strays stressed and make it wilder. That’s the reason strays go aggressive because of bad human experience and the blame cannot be put on the strays alone,” said Faridah.
Why do strays exist?
Rozi explained that some people abandon kittens and puppies as they cannot afford to take care of the animals and it is considered expensive to bring them to vets. This was a result of pets not being neutered, which is the root problem for stray animals, as well as irresponsible owners “throwing away” their pets.
Liza added, “Most of the time, pet owners only prefer keeping cats or dogs with thick furs or are fluffy. But once their pets have scabs or other illnesses, they are no longer keen to keep their pets and leave them at public places irresponsibly.”
Centre for stray animals
The three sisters said authorities should set up a proper shelter to address the issue of stray animals.
“There used to be stray dogs at our previous residential area and when we reported to the local authorities, they informed that if no one is willing to adopt, they have to put the strays to sleep. This definitely made us upset,” said Rozi.
“We are also volunteers of Care and Action for Strays (CAS). As far as we know, we do not have such shelter to accommodate stray animals. So on behalf of other animal lovers in the country, we hope there will be one established soon to help protect and nurse our strays,” added Faridah.
CAS is also a small informal network of individuals who donate their spare time towards helping strays.
“We help out voluntarily and raise public awareness. We encourage people to donate to these NGOs as it will help out in terms of medicines, vaccines and spaying or neutering the strays,” said Liza.
The sisters said there is a general misconception among Bruneians that Muslims cannot touch dogs and puppies as it is haram (forbidden).
“We have rescued a number of puppies and it actually became an issue. We received negative feedbacks, even being warned that since we are Muslims, we should not handle dogs and puppies,” said Liza.
“But our intention is to help. I worked as a vet assistant previously and used to hold our clients’ dogs. I cannot use gloves as it is necessary to check their body temperature and give injections, vaccines and such. It is surely difficult to check the body temperature using gloves. We can always samak or wash seven times, one of the seven with water mixed with earth,” she added.
Rozi added that it is difficult for stray puppies and dogs to be adopted in Brunei, compared to kittens and cats, considering the culture and religious restrictions.
“It’s hard to tell people and hopefully through this page, we could increase awareness and share knowledge to address this matter,” said Rozi.
“There were cases when people used to drop their cats and abandon in front of our houses, with a note ‘please take care of this cat’, as they know we would take them as nurse them to health,” shared Faridah.
These cats, according to them, usually have scabs and mites. But once they nursed the cats to health and appeared better and beautiful, people are willing to take care of them.
“We want the cats to be loved, hence we really look at potential adopters with a general background check. We would ask how many cats they already have. These cats must be given full undivided attention. They’re like humans too,” said Rozi.
She further said adopters must not chain or cage the cats, and to make sure the new owners will provide updates that the cats are well.
The three sisters said pets should not be caged as they deserve freedom. If caging is necessary, pet owners are obliged to keep the cages clean for their pets to be comfortable and hygienic.
Living in Brunei makes it a sensitive issue to neuter stray animals as it is being labelled cruel and abuse. However, Liza said there is a need to see this issue in a different perspective.
“Rather than letting the strays keep on reproducing which will lead to a mushrooming stray population, it is better to neuter to reduce the risk of cats and dogs being abused and poisoned by irresponsible individuals,” said Liza.
Liza, who used to be a veterinarian assistant, said vet clinics usually offer these services to pet owners from $90 to $150.
“Pet owners too should be mindful when purchasing medicines from pet stores as we don’t want our pets to be overdosed and suffer from that consequence,” she added.
The Brunei Times