An 85-year-old man in Malaysia died trying to prevent local pound dog catchers from taking his seven-year-old mixed-breed dog.
Law Sei Kiew, who lived alone with his beloved pet, collapsed and fell after getting involved in a tug-of-war with the dog catchers sent by the Bentong Municipal Council on May 24.
According to witnesses, Law’s dog was inside his compound when a group of council dog catchers arrived near his home at around 5 p.m. The dog came out as the group approached Law’s gate and got trapped in a pole with a noose. In apparent fear of losing his canine companion, Law rushed out of his house and pleaded with the catchers to release the dog.
A neighbor named Chan Poh Loong witnessed how the elderly man held onto the pole the group used to ensnare the dog with, while the catchers pulled to capture the dog. Shortly after, Law suddenly collapsed and fell into a nearby drain.
Paramedics who arrived at the scene failed to revive the man and pronounced him dead on-site.
While the pet reportedly remains in Law’s residence, its fate is now uncertain as Law’s children returned to their respective homes in other states without making a decision regarding its future.
According to the Bentong Municipal Council’s Public Health Department, the council had filed a police report on the matter.
This incident has sparked online debate over the treatment of dog owners and rescuers during dog-catching operations in Malaysia.
Irene Low, the director of the canine welfare project Malaysian Dogs Deserve Better, expressed her concerns and urged the relevant authorities to reevaluate their approach to these activities.
“Things have gone terribly out of control with the elderly gentleman’s demise and it’s time the relevant authorities relook at all dog-catching activities,” she was quoted saying.
In response to the tragedy, Malaysian lawmaker Young Syefura Othman has called for clear guidelines and procedures to be established for dog-catching operations. She emphasized the need to prevent similar incidents and conflicts between enforcement officers and residents or individuals who care for stray dogs.