A scrap collector, a former teacher — and most importantly, a human with a big heart for stray animals.
Ever since the Movement Control Order (MCO) was first imposed, Khairul has been feeding stray dogs and cats because he noticed that no one was around to feed them
Speaking to Sin Chew Daily for a report published in October 2020, Khairul said he feeds stray cats around Sungai Kelantan because many shops and food stores there were temporarily closed.
“These stray cats were having difficulty finding food,” related the 44-year-old, adding, “Later, I found that many stray dogs were also struggling with hunger.”
“They were looking for food in the trash. When I saw that, I felt pity for them, so I decided to feed all of them.”
He admitted that while collecting recyclables is difficult to make a living, he still could not bring himself to ignore the starving stray animals and watch them die.
Hence, he decided to feed them every alternate day.
At first, Khairul fed the stray dogs with cat food
After the dogs befriended him, Khairul named the pack of dogs in the area as ‘Ah Ciak Gang’, with Ah Ciak being the first dog he fed there.
“At first I was just feeding cats and Ah Ciak, but then she started bringing her other hungry friends along. I named this gang, the Ah Ciak Gang,” Khairul, who is more fondly known to the public as Bambob, told Free Malaysia Today.
As days went by, Khairul came across more hungry stray dogs near where Ah Ciak Gang roams.
He saw nine puppies under two months old and he took them under his care. They are named ‘Striped Gang’ or ‘Geng Belang’ in Bahasa Malaysia because their fur resembles the fur of a tiger.
Khairul’s quest to feed stray dogs continued and he eventually became the gang leader of ‘Ah Ciak’s Babies Gang’ and ‘Istana Gang’.
The latter was named as such due to their close proximity to Istana Negeri Kelantan.
However, other than the challenge of sourcing food for the stray animals, Khairul also has to deal with the heartbreaks as stray dogs are often captured, poisoned, or killed by various parties
A couple of weeks ago, he said 16 dogs and five puppies died after ingesting food that was poisoned.
His favourite dog named Abe Long was shot dead as well. Sin Chew Daily reported that Abe Long was killed by the local council.
Despite the heartache, Khairul is determined to never stop feeding the strays
On his Facebook profile, he often uploads photos and videos of him feeding and spending time with the strays.
Khairul told SAYS in an interview that he has about nine pitstops to feed all the strays in Kelantan. Some pitstops are located as far as 15 minutes away from his home.
He said he spends RM300 to RM400 a month to feed the animals. According to Sin Chew Daily, after pet shop owners find out that he buys animal food for the strays, they offer him discounts.
“Other than receiving donations from local people, Malaysians in Penang and Negeri Sembilan also donate RM50 to RM100 to me to buy animal food,” he related.
“Malays mostly donate cat food. Some of them also donate dog food, but dog food is mainly donated by Chinese people.”
When asked about the taboo revolving around touching a dog, he said Muslims are allowed to keep dogs to help them hunt and guard homes, crops, and livestock.
“My father-in-law used to rear dogs to guard the door. During the British colonial period, the government opened up dog licence applications. At that time, most applicants were Malays,” Khairul shared.
He added that he has never been bitten by the dogs. At most, his clothes were scratched by the canine friends who were too excited to see him.
If you wish to help Khairul feed the strays, you can reach out to him on Facebook here or on WhatsApp at +6018-9051519.
Alternatively, you can also support him by buying a T-shirt he is selling. The proceeds will go towards feeding the strays. More information on that here.