On Saturday 20 March, an extraordinary mission took place to rescue a group of stray dogs and puppies on Pulau Gazumbo, a small uninhabited island in Penang.

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The island rescue

It is estimated that there were six adult dogs and seven puppies struggling to survive on the island. Nobody knows how they ended up there, but it’s likely that they were abandoned.

When independent animal rescuers found out, they decided to take matters into their own hands and sought help from local fishermen.

Alone and trapped with no food source or clean water, the dogs were skinny and had completely relied on the kindness of the fisherman who occasionally dropped off food for them.

The team of rescuers hauled 40kg of kibble, over 14kg of canned food and 26 litres of drinking water over to the island and managed to catch six of the trapped puppies.

Animal activist, David Yim, said, “When you look at the island from Penang Bridge, it looks small. But when you are running after a puppy under the sun, the area feels very big.” Undaunted, they were determined to capture all of the remaining dogs, including the seventh puppy and their mother, so they could be neutered, vaccinated and provided with the appropriate care and treatment.

Support from the council

Although the island is not under anyone’s jurisdiction, Penang Island City Council (MBPP) provided cages and tools to help the rescue team.

Councillor Connie Tan, who heads the council’s Stray and Abandoned Dog Sub-committee, sent officers to receive the dogs, under our scheme that has ended the killing of strays on Penang Island since March 2018.

She said, “Under a collaboration with IAPWA Penang, MBPP conducts ‘TNR’, which means ‘Trap-Neuter-Release/Rehome’. We first take the dogs to our veterinary unit in Jalan Sungai and after they are checked, IAPWA takes them to be neutered and hopefully, rehomed.”

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The puppies find their paws

The six tiny pups brought into our care were around six to eight weeks old. They were understandably very scared and confused when they arrived, and huddled together in a corner for comfort.

One adorable little boy was the bravest of the bunch and stepped out to show his siblings it was safe. He was the first to come out of his shell and taste our delicious puppy food – the rest soon followed and their personalities began to shine!

One week on, they were given their first vaccinations, de-wormed, de-flead, and were then ready to start looking for their forever homes and leave the dangers of living on the uninhabited island behind.

Adoption angels

The amazing news is that three of the puppies have since found their loving families thanks to our wonderful supporters who have helped us care for them and spread the word that they were looking for new homes.

One adopter decided to open her home to a lovely pup with a heart-shaped nose who will keep her fifteen-year-old dog company. Another was a kind, single father who decided it was time to give his only child a furry companion.

All three innocent pups have found their perfect families and been given the chance at a better life through our Adoption Programme.

If you wish to kindly sponsor the remaining three pups’ needs, we would really appreciate your support. Together we can create a better future for all animals in need.

Donate here.

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Written by: Helen Saxton
IAPWA Blog Manager