Veterinary Public Health Ordinance 1999′ Takes Precedence In Rabies Areas

KUCHING: The Ministry of Local Government and Housing has clarified that areas which have been declared as rabies areas will automatically see the ‘Veterinary Public Health Ordinance 1999’ taking precedence over the ‘Dog Licensing By-Law’.

Currently, a total of 29 areas in Sarawak (Kuching, Serian, Sri Aman, Sarikei and Kota Samarahan) have been declared as rabies areas.

Dogs which have been captured by the local councils in these areas will be directly put to sleep and sampled. Pet owners will not get a 48-hour window to claim their dogs.

When an area is declared as a rabies area, it is like a curfew for dogs. The councils will catch any dog (licensed or unlicensed) that are roaming freely, the ministry’s permanent secretary Bakrie Zaini told a press conference at his office yesterday.

Pet owners, he added, should also walk their dogs with a leash during this period.

Outside the 29 rabies areas, the Dog Licensing By-Law will operate as usual and pet owners who found their dogs missing are advised to contact the councils as soon as possible.

Despite knowing full well that other warm-blooded animals such as monkeys, rats and bats are potential virus carriers, the ministry is putting focus on dogs because it can be easily domesticated.

Dog bites are also very deep compared to cats, Bakrie added.

The ministry is meanwhile mooting the idea to make it compulsory for dog owners to implant their dogs with a microchip.

The idea is that when a dog is handed to anyone, they can scan the dog from the microchip. This will provide them the animal’s identification number which leads to the owner’s contact information, said Bakrie.

The microchip will contain the owner’s name, dog breed, dog age and vaccination status to assist the relevant agencies with their regulatory work.

As the proposal is still under study, the ministry will most probably start the pilot project sometime this year in Bau, as the area has been identified to be having a large population of dogs

Source: The Borneo Post