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The New Paper
June 18, 2016
In a small clearing off Bukit Tiram in Johor Baru, Singaporean couple Logan Nathan and Malathi Suppayan, both 49, run a sanctuary for stray dogs.
Located a 30-minute drive from the Causeway, the 0.6ha land is a shelter for about 450 dogs rescued from animal pounds and the streets.
It all started 10 years ago, when Mr Nathan first met his wife.
She loved dogs and frequently took in strays from the streets.
Mr Logan said they would take in strays that were too vulnerable to survive on their own.
It came to a point where their four-room Marsiling flat housed 18 dogs, so they decided to move to a bigger space.
"We felt that the dogs should not be crammed within the four walls of a flat. They deserve to have the freedom to roam," said Madam Malathi.
That was how the Esa Animal Shelter in JB was born.
"I think this is God's calling for me," said Mr Logan, who used to be a private tutor.
Madam Malathi said: "Our vision is to reduce the number of stray dogs on the streets and to do what we can to help them."
The couple hired three full-time staff to help out with the chores at the shelter.
Every day, the staff feed 150kg of kibble to the dogs, wash each enclosure at least once, and clean up after the dogs thrice.
The couple, who have no children, admitted that it is hard to run the shelter.
The shelter costs $8,000 a month to operate and that does not include the dogs' medical costs.
Their main source of income comes from their part-time jobs - Mr Logan works as a night-shift security supervisor while Madam Malathi does freelance legal research work in Singapore. They visit the shelter twice a week.
They also use public donations and the rent they collect for a room in their Marsiling flat.
The couple have linked the four-year-old shelter up with other animal welfare groups to raise awareness on strays, as well as coordinate rescue efforts.
While the dogs in the shelter are up for adoption, Mr Logan ensures that the adopter is well-prepared and committed to take care of the dog.
He also has a list of requirements, including taking the dog for medical check-ups and vaccinations.
"In the sixth month, they have to bring the dogs for a stay-in at the vet," said Mr Logan.
"I want to ensure that the dogs will have a good life and not be abandoned again."
The couple hope their shelter will be able to give these strays a new lease of life, and create more awareness of their plight.
Mr Logan said: "We have faced many struggles to get to where we are today, but I want to be the voice of the voiceless and to help the strays in whatever way that I can."