Source: The Borneo Post
A pet owner calms her two pet dogs as a veterinary officer injects the anti-rabies vaccine in this file photo.
KUCHING: Anti-rabies vaccination for dogs are still available and ongoing in the state even during the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) period.
In a statement today, Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said a total 7,518 dogs in the state had been vaccinated against rabies since Jan 1 this year. Of this figure, 41 per cent of them received booster vaccinations.
“It is important for all dogs to be vaccinated against rabies annually. The cumulative number of dogs vaccinated from 2017 until 12 June 2020 is 158,322. Anti-rabies vaccination is ongoing even during the RMCO,” he said.
During the RMCO, Uggah said dog owners can bring their dogs to any nearby Department of Veterinary Services Sarawak (DVSS) divisional office to get their free anti-rabies vaccination during office hours. However, they will have to adhere with the current SOP such as social distancing, applying hand sanitisers and using face masks. “For certain areas in Sarawak, DVSS will conduct mobile vaccinations at villages to reach out to the rural areas.”
Uggah, who is also deputy chief minister, said to date, 64 areas in Sarawak have been declared as rabies-infected areas, namely in Kuching (7), Sri Aman (5), Sibu (2), Miri (6), Sarikei (5), Kapit (1), Bintulu (4), Samarahan (4), Betong (3), Serian (22) and Mukah (5). He explained that in accordance with the Anti-rabies Vaccination Order, all dogs in Sarawak must be vaccinated with anti-rabies vaccine.
“Any owner or person in charge of a dog who fails without reasonable cause to comply with the Anti-Rabies Vaccination Order shall be guilty of an offence which carries a fine not exceeding RM250,000 under Section 40, Veterinary Public Health Ordinance (VPHO), 1999. Dogs without evidence of vaccination may be detained or removed under this section. Owners who let their dogs roam freely on the streets shall be liable to a fine not exceeding RM250,000 under Section 37, VPHO 1999,” he said.
He also said dog owners must keep their dogs under effective control either by confining them within an enclosed area from which it is impossible for the dog to escape, or tying it up securely, or leading it by a chain or lead of strong cord or leather properly secured to a collar or harness worn by the dog.
“The Local Authority may seize and impound any dogs which are not on a leash in accordance with the Local Authorities (Dog Licensing and Control) by-laws, 2018,” he said.
Sarawak has so far recorded 23 rabies positive cases involving humans, of which 22 have died. The latest fatality was a five year old girl in Sibu who died on March 25. On May 29, a dog which bit a five-year-old boy four days earlier at a housing area in Jalan Sanhill Barat, Sibu has tested positive for rabies. The dog died, while the boy had received vaccination and was put under observation.
Uggah also said as of today, there are 10 areas in Sibu where dogs tested positive for rabies. The areas are Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, Lorong Permai Timur, Kampung Bahagia Jaya Teku, Sibujaya, Batu ½ Jalan Oya, Jalan Hua Kiew, Ulu Sungai Merah, Taman Sanhill Barat, Jalan Oya Lama and Jalan Sentosa. “All these 10 areas are within the 10km radius of the two previously declared rabies-infected areas in Sibu.”