By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Jan 13: Three dogs and one kitten died after waist-deep floodwater battered the Sarawak Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) animal shelter at Kota Sentosa here overnight.
Volunteers of SSPCA rushed to the facility at midnight to release the dogs from the pens and cages as well as moving them and lighter kennels to higher ground as floodwaters, triggered by a long day of rainfall and the king tide phenomenon, rose and poured in.
A volunteer issued an SOS via a video on Facebook pleading for more people to come in and help in the wee hours last night, “Please… please come down as soon as possible, shelter needs help! Shelter flooding, shelter needs help! Please… a lot of dogs inside.”
The dogs wandering loose in the shelter were swimming for their lives in the waist-deep water and others shivering on dry ground while a lot of appliances and food stock were ruined by the water.
The animal shelter is already operating at full capacity so persistent rainfall accompanied by the king tide and floodwaters is adding to an already stressful situation.
SSPCA president Datin Donna Drury-Wee, when contacted today, said that it was the worst flooding as previously floodwaters only reached about thigh-high.
“The floodwater was up to the window sill. We used to flood quite regularly but once the shophouses were built and drainage was properly done, there was no more flood. So last night was just too much rain and the king tide.
“We are doing clearing now and a lot of people are coming in to help. We have asked for public assistance such as used towels and dry food. We cannot cook now as the rice cooker and many other appliances are damaged. So we advised those who want to help not to send us cooked food,” she said.
Donna added that they are preparing and bracing for the floods due to the king tides phenomenon this week.
“After that, we will get more public assistance to enable us to care for the animals,” she said.
On the construction of the new animal village, Donna informed that the drawing is pending approval from the council before the tender can be called for a few contractors to get involved.
“I would say it would take about three months time before construction can take off,” she explained.
The proposed shelter, located at Sungai Tapang, 7km from Kuching International Airport, would be built on a 0.8-hectare piece of land awarded by the Sarawak government.
Once completed, the animal village will serve as a shelter for stray cats and dogs and will be equipped with a health centre, boarding facilities, a cafe and a pet-grooming centre.
Meanwhile, the shelter welcomes donations of newspapers, old boxes and dry pet food as well as volunteers to foster and adopt the animals. -DayakDaily