By Lisa J. Ariffin
KUALA LUMPUR, June 12 — The owners of the Petknode Online Pet Store today pleaded guilty to the maltreatment of 30 cats, which they had left starving, dehydrated and covered in faeces at the “pet hotel” over last year’s Hari Raya holidays.
Sources who were present in Petaling Jaya Magistrates’ Court today informed The Malaysian Insider that Petknode owners Shahrul Azuwan Adanan and Yushairi Khairuddin had amended their earlier plea of not guilty “because they were very remorseful”.
“The two owners said they have done a lot of thinking prior to the trial and had expressed guilt and remorse over the incident, and therefore changed their plea to guilty today,” the Stray Cat Rescue and Treatment Community Help (Scratch) volunteer explained.
She added “because they changed their plea at last minute, the sentencing will be postponed to June 28 at 9am.”
The Scratch volunteer declined to be named “because we rescued the cats and do not want this to affect the outcome in any way”.
The two men were earlier charged with 30 counts under Section 44 (1) of the Animals Act 1953, which provides for a maximum of six months’ jail, a RM200 fine, or both for each offence upon conviction.
They were accused of committing the offences at their store premises at No. F001B, Level 1, Plaza Seasons Square, Jalan PJU 10/3, Damansara Damai, Selangor
Petknode had advertised their pet boarding services for as little as RM3.95 a night ahead of Hari Raya celebrations last year.
But pet owners who had taken up the promotional offer to board their animals over the holiday period returned to find their cats emaciated and traumatised after being left unattended for as long as nine days.
Animal rescuers resorted to forcing their way into Petknode’s premises to save up to 150 cats then.
They later banded with the owners of the pets and other animal lovers to call for the boarding centre operators to be jailed, fined and sued.
Shahrul and Yushairi had since apologised for the condition of the cats and even thanked the rescuers for fostering 26 cats and a dog that they admitted they were unable to provide adequate care and service as promised, due to their own mismanagement of the animal boarding centre.