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PULAU KETAM DOG RESCUE MISSION
UPDATES

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Tuesday, 12/05/09:
SIX MAKES FOURTEEN
Updates on location: Three rescued dog couples just checked in at the jetty. 3 males and
3 females. They are being sent to our vets in Port Klang. Ever helpful Klang FFF volunteer Connie is at hand to receive the dogs, manage the ground transfer and vet check-in.

Connie's 6

Updates by TV Smith

Tuesday, 12/05/09:
A HORROR STORY
When I was at Pulau Kejam yesterday, I got a frantic call from Pummkin. She told me her new employer has sacked her for spending too much time and paying too much attention to the rescue mission. She was quite philosophical about it though. I agree with her that it is better to know early that she is working for a boss with different values.

The silver lining or blessings in disguise (as she puts it) is that she can now participate full time. We really need a person to replace either me or Sabrina on at least for a couple of days during weekdays. Sabrina needs to attend to her furry kids at the sanctuary, run to the various vets to check on the recuperating dogs and juggle with her day job.

I also need to manage the operational issues like dealing with authorities, schedule volunteers and find an insurance company to sponsor coverage. I also need to see our lawyers to prepare a stringent disclaimer for the volunteers to sign.

A fisherman told me that the poisonous snakes lurking in the swamps are so venomous that an adult will die within 20 minutes after getting bitten. The nearest hospital with antidote is at least one hour away. Would be great if a volunteer doctor come aboard.

Yesterday the government agencies and NGOs met up to discuss the crisis. As I expected nothing useful came out it. All MPK councilors were quick to disown responsibility. The villagers also said they were not to be blamed. So who approved the money for the deportation of the dogs? Of course, they now claim they have no money left to help with the rescue.

None of the government agencies are pro-active. They expect us to sit in committees and to follow up for them. I don't even have time to listen to the long audio recording or to read the transcripts from that meeting. From what I sense, things look even more bleak for the dogs and we will just have to intensify the rescue effort ourselves. Come help us when you have formed all the committees and get all the approvals okay?

Morgan

Sabrina with rescued Morgan. She named him after her former collague and SPCA's employee Murugan who trapped Morgan and several others. Behind Sabrina, is our sponsored port police patrol boat that brought me, Sabrina and Morgan back to the Yacht Club. See the comments section on Antares' blog about Muslims and dogs. I added this comment to the discussion:

"I also like to add that many of the donors to this rescue mission are Malays/Muslims. Not only do they contribute money but also offer prayers. Also on the ground, several of the boat crew and fishermen helping us, are Muslims. Zalina helping out at our Mission Secretariat is Muslim too - TV Smith"

Updates and pics by TV Smith

Monday, 11/05/09:
A HORROR MOVIE



Rescue team member Donald GH Tan shot this video as Grace was treated at the vet. He wrote on his blog: "Is this the way MPK and its councillors wanted these dogs to die a painful and a 'horribly slow' death? Did the people of Pulau Ketam enjoyed the RM90.00 per dog paid to them by taxpayers' money? Just what did they do with the money? A new LCD TV? More Yam Sengs? China Dolls?"

Updates by TV Smith

Sun, 10/05/09:
WALKING WITH ME
Sabrina is a Buddhist. She was an abandoned orphan and grew up in a temple. She drives an old car, battered further by the daily long drives to her shelter. She also works at a day care center for autistic children. Why?

Because she wouldn't want to use any money donated to the shelter for her own wages or for car maintenance. Every single cent collected must go to the animals. But money is never enough since she is now sheltering over 100 furry kids at her "no kill" sanctuary. Go visit and adopt some of the kids if you can.

Rescue team member Pummkin is a Christian. She is passionate about her religion and everything she does. And like me, she will not keep quiet when she see injustices, especially towards animals. We fondly call each other Cacat. Many years ago, she placed a Bible in my car. I didn't tell her I already have a Bible, some Buddhist scriptures and a translated Koran in my car. I like reading :)

My Muslim friend Nurul is at another town. She inspires me daily via SMS with English-translated passages from the Koran. She also hounds me (pun intended) incessantly via text messages asking if I have saved another dog and that she is crying and praying for us.

Me? I am not religious and even suffer from agnostic pangs occasionally. But yet I pray hard to God, Gods, Any God when I see or think of the dogs stuck inside the swamps.

I get hungry sometimes on the long day out there. But how can I even think of food when I see walking skeletons feasting on a tiny piece of washed-up cardboard?

My legs and hands are of full cuts and bruises from the mangrove roots. The pain moves to my heart when I see rescued dogs with big festering wounds filled with wriggling flesh-eating maggots.

I am not a morning person. I will party till wee hours and sleep till noon sometimes. Now all I look forward to at night is to go back to the island first thing in the morning.

My friends ask me: What drives me? How many can I realistically rescue? Is it worth it? What if funds dry up? I have no idea at the moment.

My only answer is: I CANNOT and WILL NOT walk away.

Happy Mother's Day. Spare a thought for the mothers and kids trapped there too.

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the ways its animals are treated" - Mahatma Gandhi

Updates by TV Smith

Sat, 09/05/09:
FALLING TOGETHER




As we got closer, we keep hearing eerie and gut-wrenching barks from dogs stuck inside the swamps. Volunteer Pummkin was dispatched from the 'mothership' to scan the edge of the island on a sampan. They have an inflatable kayak to get even closer. Volunteer Hew Er Win was inside water when this picture was taken. It is full moon and the tide is high and fast.



Rescued Chantek (named by YB Edward Lee) is weeping silently on a back seat. She of course is not aware she is on the way to a better life and won't be put down. She was so terrified and was almost frozen when rescued. Can you blame her and the other thrown-away dogs for fearing and not trusting humans ever again?

I like to salute the dedicated Klang volunteers like Connie and Donald for using their cars to transport the maggot -ridden animals to their homes and taking care of the rescued dogs for a night.

Usually, when we return to shore at night, the nearby vets are already closed and we do not have vans or trucks to transport the animals back to FFF's sanctuary in faraway Kundang.

Last night, rafting specialist Marjorie Gabriel of Tracks Adventures in Antaresland) and Hulu Selangor councilor Karin Lee also brought in 2 dogs. River Goddess Marjorie (as she calls herself), constructed a clever pontoon to leave food for the dogs.

We have 8 now and will bring more home.

Updates and pics by TV Smith


Sat, 09/05/09:
SPECIAL WESAK DAY MESSAGE FROM THE CHIEF

The Chief

My friend TV Smith comes to our temple in Brickfields every Wesak Day to photograph the celebrations for his PhotoBlog. This year he will be out in the seas trying to save the many poor dogs discarded at the islands near Pulau Ketam. I bless him and his team of volunteers. Their selfless efforts and kindness are exemplary.

I am saddened by the cruelty but heartened that TV and Sabrina of Furry Friends Farm are there to help. I know the rescued animals will be in good hands as they are truly compassionate people. I pray for their safety and wish them success in rescuing as many of the abandoned animals as they can.

I hope Buddhists around the world will also join me in prayers for the rescue team and the suffering animals. Please continue with your support for their commendable efforts.

Happy Wesak.

The Most Venerable K Dhammaratana,
Chief High Priest of Malaysia


Updates and pics by TV Smith


Fri, 08/05/09:
AMAZING GRACE

Grace

Another long day. Another beautiful sunset. Another dog saved. I am happy. Sabrina is happy. Grace is happy. Volunteer Donald who donated 10 new cages, accompanied us on this trip.
He was given the honour of naming our new family member. He called her Grace.
Updates: Donald has a video and pics of Grace being treaated at the vet here

Grace

Grace swimming from Hell Island into our arms.

Kuning

Kuning swam into a floating fish farm a few weeks ago. The kindly Indonesian workers adopted him and another abandoned black dog imaginatively named Hitam :) A diet of mainly seafood gave their coat a healthy shine. They have since grown quite attached to their saviors.

Updates and pics by TV Smith

Thu, 07/05/09:
A SORRY STATE
As the problem exploded in their faces, opportunistic politicians and NGOs are quick to call press conferences and media briefings. Where were these people previously? Not that they didn't know. They didn't bother.

Of course now, they are covering their sorry asses and hoping to cash in at the same time. A meeting is being called with all concerned government agencies on Monday next. You know what? After all the expected red tape and bureaucracy, more dogs will be dead.

The meeting will involve some people who will speak out only for pedigree dogs. And another NGO which is quick to promote culling. What a sick joke! I get this feeling that these people will probably take the easy way and shoot all of the dogs quietly to eliminate the inconvenience it is causing them.

And NO, Yang Berhormat! We will not reschedule our rescue work to accommodate your 'busy' schedules. If you want to come see the plight of the dogs, you make and suit our time.

Me and my blogging friends worked hard to put some of these people into power during the last elections. We were hoping they will be different and more caring to the less fortunate. But instead, many turned out to be hideous "close-one-eye" types who try to evade reponsibility when the shit hit the fan.

I don't need to remind the voters who they should reconsider during the next elections. Karma will deal with them; that I am sure.

We have made it known that we need boats urgently and not one person in power lifted his or her finger to mobilise resources. At the same time, villagers are charging us even more when we are there to help solve the mess they themselves created. Tragic irony for the dogs.

All the state machinery and equipment belongs to us tax payers but yet are held back when they are needed most. I also can't believe that with a fancy yacht club and so many nice boats anchored in Port Klang, not one member offered to help. (Except, one kind officer from the club who helped us transport the cages).

We are not asking for free rides. We will pay for fuel, crew and reasonable rental. I just want a safer vessel for our volunteers. Currently, we have to make do with all kinds of flimsy boats, putting the lives of volunteers and rescued animals at great risk. Do I also need to mention not one single vet offered to help?

I am extremely disheartened but me and Sabrina will soldier on knowing that time is running out for the dogs.

Updates by TV Smith

Thu, 07/05/09:
YOU SAVED HER!
Remember that forlorn puppy on a tree I photographed on our first rescue trip? I took her picture and turned it into our mission poster. It quickly moved a nation and touched a million hearts worldwide. Her expression of hopelessness and despair made everyone with a conscience weep. It also made me and Sabrina all the more determined to try free all the dogs imprisoned there.

Her haunting image spread like wildfire across the Internet and help poured in. It allowed us to intensify our rescue efforts.

We had a hard and hectic day at the islands yesterday but we are extremely pleased to tell u we rescued her! She is now at the animal hospital undergoing treatment before she joins the other rescued animals at Sabrina's Furry Friends Farm sanctuary. Big hugs for all volunteers who helped and also to those who made donations, showered us with multi-faith prayers and much-needed moral support.

Together with her, we also retrieved another male dog which is injured and requires immediate medical attention. Your donations allow us to provide the medical care needed. Please help to keep the funds flowing by continuing to distribute the poster. You saved her!

Puppy Saved

Puppy Poster

Updates and pics by TV Smith

Wed, 06/05/09:
GOING MAINSTREAM, GOING UPSTREAM
The Star (which I used to write a column), The Sun and China Press carried stories on the dogs' ordeal today. I also spoke to YB S Manikavasagam, the MP of Kapar this morning. He has promised to 'facilitate'. Pulau Ketam falls under his constituency.

My friend and fellow-blogger Antares wrote: "The true measure of civilization is the way a community deals with social outcasts like immigrants (legal or otherwise), stray dogs, and the transgendered." By this measure, "we remain classified as an Uncivilized Feudal State of Well-Dressed Primates", according to him.

True. But we must also salute the many caring Malaysians who are redeeming this awful image through volunteering, supporting with hard-earned money and helping to draw attention to the plight of the exiled.

We're off to Dog Island again this morning.

Updates by TV Smith

Wed, 06/05/09:
REAL DANGERS
Our volunteer Communications Officer for the rescue mission, Zalina, brought up the issue of cannibalism and whether the dog-eating-dogs marooned on the island can be rehabilitated. Mark Jones, the Animal Welfare Director of Animals Asia Foundation chimed in:

Wild dogs learn to hunt as packs. Some feral dogs do revert to this kind of behavior, and I've seen packs of domestic dogs in Thailand that live perfectly well with people but will attack and kill a cat or an outsider dog should they have a mind to.

I think it's probably unlikely the dogs will "hunt" each other for food, although those that die or become very sick will inevitably become potential meals for those which remain. If these dogs have previous experience of people, it's probably unlikely they will actively attack anyone as a pack, although they will be scared and desperate and will no doubt defend themselves if they are cornered, so whoever is going onto the island to try and help will need to be very careful.

Disease is a real issue, particularly since the dogs were presumably randomly picked up and transferred to the island, because they will be weak and immune suppressed, and because they will have had close contact with each other and with the carcases of those which have died.

There will be a good chance that distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis or parvovirus may be circulating among them. Is there any recent history of rabies in this area? Have those people who are planning to be closely involved received rabies vaccinations? It will be worth checking with the local clinic / hospital that they have the means to provide prophylactic rabies treatment should anyone involved get bitten.


I'll check with the local clinic when we re-visit the islands today.

Updates by TV Smith

Tue, 05/05/09:
THE SEC
Sabrina and myself are swarmed with e-mails. Which is a good thing. Many generous and caring folks are contacting us to contribute money and time. Among the many subjects, good folks want to confirm bank account details, ask if they can use paypal, inquire whether they can help or volunteer in other ways, send food, offer words of encouragement, etc, etc.

Me and Sabrina read and respond to every single mail from two different locations. It is almost non-stop work with a mail a minute for the whole day. And if we have inadvertently missed one or two, please accept our apologies. Please keep em coming though.

But once the real work starts in the high seas we are unable to reply immediately or as fast as we would like. It is dangerous to work on a laptop or a phone out on a swaying boat.

Thereby, I have initiated The Rescue Mission Secretariat. They will be managed by three great ladies with a proven track record as independent rescuers and as passionate animal welfare defenders. They are all musical stars in their own right too :)

Janet will handle publicity and volunteer info, While Zalina will be the media and press liaisons person and Nicole will assist them both.

They can be reached at +6012 378 3730 (Janet) or +6012 320 8090 (Zalina)
The Sec's E-mail is dogrescue.pk@gmail.com

You can still e-mail me and Sabrina at the earlier given addresses but do cc to the new e-mail, in case it goes unanswered for a while. Or you may write directly to this new e-mail address and cc to Sabrina and me. Or any combo or just pick up the phone and call them to ask...

Updates by TV Smith

Tue, 05/05/09:
POWER OF THE NET
The power and reach of viral marketing via social networking sites is being demonstrated. From Facebook to Twitter, hundreds of thousands of caring netizens are helping to raise awareness to the plight of the Pulau Ketam dogs worldwide, overnight.

The issue is also highlighted by prominent Malaysian sopo blogs such as Malaysia Today, Zorro Unmasked, Lillian Chan, Antares, Tony Pua, The People's Parliament and hundreds thousands of other equally important personal-type blogs. Of course, it helps that many of the concerned bloggers are friends in real life. Messages are also being posted on forums and chat rooms.

The net effect is very important. It sends a message to the perpetrators that there are greater number people out there who will not stand for such cruelty and that they will rise to the call for action.

It also draws a number of people with specialised skills and resources to come forward to offer help for the stranded animals. So whether you took action by forwarding a mail alert, by posting it on blogs or forums, or by word of mouth, it is effective and it matters.

Animals everywhere have no MPs or spokespersons to represent them. Your collective voice and conscience is their only hope.

Updates by TV Smith


Mon, 04/05/09:
HOPE AND HOPELESSNESS
Sabrina called to say the terrier pup rescued on Saturday is doing fine at the clinic. She is eating well. Although still looking very depressed, managed to wag her tail when Sabrina came to take her back to her animal shelter in Kuang, near Rawang.

Going back to the islands on Wednesday. Donald in Klang has arranged for some cages to be transferred to the island tomorrow (Tuesday) through village headman Mr Tan. Tan apparently is a fisherman and goes out to sea for days at a time.

Sabrina will also be contacting the Indonesians at the pontoons by phone for updates on the attempts at feeding and trapping. A mutual friend of me and Sabrina will be following us.

Pamela (or Pummkin as she is popularly known in the online world or Cacat as we have been calling each other for years) is an experienced dive instructor and animal lover. She will also act as water safety officer or 'life guard' for Sabrina and the volunteers.

Anyone knows anyone who can volunteer a boat and crew for free or for hire at nominal rates? It should be big enough to take about eight people including space for storing about 10 to 15 cages. If we can find a private boat, it will solve a lot of our headaches.

Updates by TV Smith

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To
help, e-mail TV Smith at tvsmith@mycen.com.my

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