Although no rabies cases have been reported in Miri Division particularly Miri City, pet owners are reminded to bring their dogs and cats for vaccination.
Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Lee Kim Shin said as a precautionary measure, owners should bring their dogs and cats to the veterinary clinic even though Miri is categorised as a white area.
Lee gave this reminder when receiving a courtesy call from Zero Strays Miri led by its president Sterwina Kho yesterday.
During the visit, Sterwina briefed Lee on preventive and educational activities organised by Zero Strays Miri following the rabies outbreak in Serian.
“As responsible pet owners they must bring their pets particularly dogs and cats for vaccination as they transmit the deadly virus through bites and scratch wounds (cats),” said Lee.
Learning that veterinary clinics only treat and vaccinate husbandry animals, Lee, who is Senadin assemblyman, called on the Veterinary Department to look into the possibility of treating dogs and cats in view of the rabies cases reported in Serian.
“It is costly for some to get vaccination from private veterinary clinics. A lot of them are keeping local breed to enhance safety and security of their area,” he said, adding that he was made to understand that the cost is around RM300.
Meanwhile, Sterwina disclosed that due to financial constraint and limited manpower they were unable to carry out mass vaccination here.
“We are doing whatever we can by focusing on stray dogs in the city and dogs under Trap, Neuter and Release (TNR). There are groups of retired veterinaries from Kuching who volunteered to assist Zero Strays Miri in mass vaccination,” said Sterwina, while seeking some financial assistance from Lee.
Lee agreed to give RM5,000 to Zero Strays Miri to carry out vaccination, and said he would bring up the request for the Veterinary Department to also treat and vaccinate dogs and cats, and financial assistance to Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah.
He cautioned that the effort to reduce stray dog population in the city would not be successful if irresponsible pet owners abandoned and discarded their dogs and puppies indiscriminately.
As responsible owners, they should neuter their pets, he added.