2 neighbourhoods want exemption from rabies operation for a good reason

Tay (second left) poses in a group photo with KRT TT4 committee members (from left) Dean Kuan, David Law from Stutong Baru, Suziana Ismail and Andrew Tsen from GHBG and Kimberly Lim from SOS Kuching.

By Peter Sibon

KUCHING, April 13: The communities of KRT Tabuan Tranquillity Fasa 4 (TT4) and Green Height-Borneo Garden (GHBG) want the relevant authorities to exempt their areas from the ‘mopping’ exercise to rid the two areas from stray dogs.

This because they have taken an innovative and proactive approach to protect its neighbourhoods from thefts and break-ins with the help of ‘free roamers community dogs’ that have been vaccinated against rabies, KRT TT4 spokesperson Maggie Tay told DayakDaily.

She added that their innovative approach was in cooperation with Save Our Strays Association Kuching (SOS Kuching).

“With the ongoing ‘Rabies Operation’ to remove all dogs seen on the streets, TT4 and GHBG will send an open letter to the chairman of State National Disaster Committee and director of Department of Veterinary Services Sarawak on April 15 to request that our areas be exempted from the mopping operation as we believe our trap, neuter, vaccine and release (TNVR) method is more effective in protecting our area.

“We also want to prove that this known and proven international method is the best way to curb stray population and to build an immunity barrier for the safety of human and animals within our communities,” she said today.

She also encouraged other housing communities to understand and participate in a similar programme.

“Do approach SOS Kuching if you wish to conduct a similar programme in your community. We are willing to share our experience with you,” she said.

Tay explained that at TT4, they considered the dogs not as strays but as community dogs that are part of their community.

“They are at of our community as they do recognise the people who live here and they protect our neighbourhood from break-ins. In fact, when they bark, we will take it as a warning and quickly check to see that all is all right in our neighbourhood.

“We feel that a very important part of being a progressive community is to show kindness and humanity, especially in times of great challenge such as now, with the threat of rabies. This is why we believe that kindness and being humane can and will benefit our community,” she said.

Tay also believed that vaccinating and neutering their community dogs would help to do two very important things, namely, the dogs will be safe from the dreaded disease and will act as the first line of defence against the spread of rabies.

“Dogs guard their territory. If we remove them, other dogs will come and take their place. These other dogs are usually of unknown factors and could carry diseases and cause trouble.

“We would rather have an immunised group of community dogs that we know them and they know us. We are more than willing to do annual booster vaccinations for them with the aid of supportive authorities. The neutered dogs will no longer reproduce, thereby controlling the population of free roamers,” she said.

She also explained the initiative taken by both TT4 and GHBG was based on a scientific approach.

“We target to achieve 100 per cent vaccination rate for pet dogs and cats as this is the cheapest and most effective method to protect ourselves and our families. We also strongly encourage all pet owners in our communities to neuter their pets as neutered pets are usually friendlier and better behaved which will help to improve neighbourliness in our communities,” she said.

Tay said next month, the communities of TT4 and GHBG would be working together with SOS Kuching for the project.

“This will include licensing of our resident pets. The aim of all this proactive approach is to protect our free-roaming animals from being culled by the on-going rabies operation. At the same time we want to ensure that our beloved community dogs will continue to serve us as the trusty neighbourhood alarm system for many years to come,” she said.

Meanwhile, Tay said, SOS would also introduce a subsidised programme that will also encourage pet owners to vaccinate and neuter their pets.

“We want to try a different approach. We have learned that international authorities such as the World Health Organization (WHO), other countries who have faced the threat of rabies (like India and Thailand); and other developed countries have dealt with rabies successfully through vaccinating and neutering their stray animal population,” she said. — DayakDaily