This article is a follow-up to the alleged dog shelter scam that’s so elaborate, we’ve called it 1MDogB. If you haven’t read that one yet, here’s the link so you can catch up to all the drama. Some readers have actually commented on how the ending of our earlier article felt incomplete, and they were totally right because – dramatic
paws pause – that was just the beginning.
In fact, something happened the same day we published our article.
When the allegation first broke, all the named social media accounts including A Pet’s Journal (APJ) and Erlang’s Dog disappeared faster than Woofie on vet visit day. But then, about a week later, APJ and Sivabalan reappeared on FB under a new account called A Pets Journal (without the apawstrophe) where he kinda called out the ‘keyboard warriors’ trying to destroy all the work they’ve been putting into helping the doggos.
But it wasn’t until a few hours after we hit the publish button that he dropped some really hot leads.
Sivabalan gave a location AND some proof of their innocence.
So first up, the new APJ Page on FB has been taken down again so we can’t link to any of the videos. We have screenshots and photos to prove it happened, but you’ll have to trust us about what was actually said in them.
The first video was of Sivabalan in front of a construction site with a mother dog and her puppies. He said this was his current ‘project’, ensuring that the dogs were fed every day and healthy. He also gave the location of the site and called out the “keyboard warriors”, asking them to do something to actually help instead of spending their time criticizing him online. In a different video, Sivabalan confirmed the link between the pet shops owned by Pavitra and APJ, saying that some of the income from the shops were used to fund APJ. As proof, he left some documents at the counter of Aurora Pets – one of the shops owned by Pavitra in Sri Petaling – for anyone to view.
So with that, we hopped into our car and headed to the two locations to see if the information checked out.
We didn’t find a dog at the construction site, because the dog found us. She came running up to our car when we pulled up and seemed momentarily confused when we opened the door, as if we weren’t the person she was expecting to see (she was still really friendly though). And just as Sivabalan said, the security guard confirmed that there was someone coming to feed the dogs every day, and that the puppies were kept safe in the construction site itself. However the guard couldn’t place a specific time that Sivabalan came by other than “waktu malam“. With a small risk of Great Dane-ger to ourselves, we stopped by again the next day hoping to catch him there, but with no luck.
So yes, we can confirm that mama dog is indeed real, and that she is the goodest pup.
But things weren’t as straightforward at our next stop…
Accounting is not the same as accountable.
You know how when they show audits done on tv there are staccs upon staccs of boxes filled with documents? It’s not just for effect, but it’s because there’s usually a paper trail. When we got to Aurora pets, the documents were…. a very small stacc of accounting printouts, some with the note “We get 30% Do your math”.
“Do your math” are the most frightening words you can say to a CILISOS writer – the reason why we chose to work with words is because we fail at working with numbers, much less accounting. And since we didn’t want to disappoint you the way we disappointed our parents by doing the accounts ourselves, we asked for help. We woke up the next day to our DM’s blowing up (ugaiz are the best la) with readers and accountants asking for access to the photos which you can analyze for yourself here.
So, what everyone agreed on is that the dog-cuments were mainly comprised of sales reports, supplier invoices, cost of renting the shop lots, and yet totally incomplete. One accountant who actually went and printed out the documents said they indicated that two of the stores were running at a loss, while another was able to identify the software used to generate the sales reports, which means that the documents might actually be legit.
One thing no one could agree on, though, was what “we get 30%” means. For now, everyone’s best guesses are that it might be:
- The percentage of funds that get channeled to APJ from the businesses, as mentioned by Sivabalan.
- The gross profit margin for the products sold at the shops, or
- A reference to an accusation that we aren’t aware of
So while they did voluntarily provide some documents, it seems that we still need access to more of them or, at the very least, to bank account statements – which they can legally not provide since there’s no official investigation against them yet.
But none of this addresses the MAIN allegations.
So from both visits, we kinda know that APJ are actually doing something to help doggos, and that their businesses are legit on paper. However, the crux of the accusations against APJ & Co. are the fake shelters and people that were created to scam animal lovers into making donations. Unfortunately, we’re kinda back to square one because neither points above or any of the other videos addresses them. These unanswered questions were brought up at a recent press con-fur-ence held by those who donated to the shelters, who were wondering:
- Why did APJ shut down their social media pages instead of addressing the situation directly?
- How much has the organization actually collected in donations?
- Why are Erlang’s Dog, Quan Shelter and Shui Fen Dogs all linked to APJ if they’re supposed to be separate organizations?
For us though, it comes down to just one major question:
Why haven’t any of the people accused of being fake shown up to say “Hi, we exist”?
Usually, people don’t like it when their faces are associated with something negative, as we found out back in 2014 when we inadvertently included a photo of a guy in an article about that site that rhymes with CornHub, leading to our first and only editorial apology. This time though, we left all the faces of the allegedly fake people uncensored not because our lawyer needs a new BMW, but because we actually wanted an angry phone call or an email; as this would lead to either:
- Them telling us they had nothing to do with APJ or any of the other shelters.
- Proving to us that they exist, APJ is legit, and a lot of people owe Sivabalan an apology.
Until a formal police investigation is done, there’s really no way of conclusively saying whether or not they did it. However, if an Uncle Erlang or Quan shows up, all the other accusations are immediately going from plausible to Scooby Doo-Doo.
And just to up the ante, we’re also including an alleged picture of the elusive Dr. Jaasreen, the supposed founder of APJ that’s suspected of not existing. This was sent in by a reader who was in contact with her in the past about some medical care for their pet.
BTW, we already reverse-Google Image searched this photo, and ran it through TinEye for good measure but we got nothing ☹️
What’s worse is that this isn’t the only (alleged) animal shelter scam
While this 1MDogB incident makes for a pretty spectacular story, it’s definitely not the first (alleged) shelter scam situation that’s occurred in Malaysia.
Case in point: Puspa Rani, the president of Malaysian Independent Animal Rescue (MIAR), was accused of misappropriating close to RM400,000 by former committee members back in 2015. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any indication of whether this has been resolved and much of the coverage of this story has been removed. However, you can still read more about this (along with some additional drama) in this Says article, or from the personal blog of the reporter who first broke the story. Again, we’re not saying that this is true, but it’s beginning to become clear that the world of Malaysian animal sheltering is more dog-eat-dog than you might think.
We asked our favorite legal beagle lawyer Fahri Azzat – not the one who needs a new BMW – if there were any laws in place to handle cases like APJ, and he says:
“There are no laws specifically for such situations. There is no need to. The criminal laws in place are sufficient to take action for such fraud.”
To summarize, the Malaysian Penal Code already has certain legislation to address the accusations:
- Cheating | Section 415 | Up to 5 years jail and/or a fine
- Using someone else’s identity to cheat | Section 417 | Up to 7 years jail and/or a fine
- Forgery| Section 463 | Up to 2 years jail and/or a fine
- Forgery to cheat someone | Section 468 | Up to 7 years jail and/or a fine
Fahri also adds that other laws that might come into play include the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Act 2001, the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, and the Personal Data Protection Act 2010.
However, one thing he says we DO need is a law to regulate charities, such as the UK’s Charities Act 2011, which also provides a framework for transparency and investigation.
So, until the issue gets tabled with potentially new laws being put in place, a senior inspector for SPCA Selangor we spoke to offered this advice before you pledge a donation:
“Big NGOs (even us) are not perfect, smaller individual rescuers are not completely helpless either. Try volunteering first in any NGO/individual rescuers that you want to help, so you may see for yourself whether you agree or disagree with their ideas and handling of the animals. Only then can you choose to support their work by donating your money and/or time.” – SPCA Selangor’s Senior Inspector to CILISOS.
With that said, this whole APJ situation has definitely taught us that instead of letting touching stories shared online touch your heart and your wallet, it might be prudent to do a little bit of digging to avoid getting boned.