Authorities going on dog catching, shooting spree in Sarawak?

Dr Kelvin Yii

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KUCHING, April 8: Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii has claimed to receive multiple complaints about authorities under the State Disaster Management Committee, including Majlis Keselamatan Negara (MKN), trespassing into private homes to catch and shoot dogs.

These include canines that may have been vaccinated against rabies and are kept within the house’s compound.

“We also received a report of how a member of the public, who was trying to record the work of such authorities in Kuching, was arrested by the police.

“That person was placed under remand in the police station, and his phone was taken away. I have personally contacted members of his family and offered legal representation by one of our DAP lawyers in order to help them get through this ordeal,” said Dr Yii in a statement today.

He said all these alleged reports had sparked a lot of concern and feelings of insecurity among the public, especially those who have pets.

“In most of these cases, they have already vaccinated their dogs but yet still live in fear that their dogs will be targeted even though they are in the compound of their respective houses,” he said.

Hence, the statement by State Disaster Management Committee chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas is contradictory, he pointed out. Uggah, who is also a Deputy Chief Minister, said recently that instructions had been given that dogs that are in the compound should not be shot at.

“While we understand the urgent need to control the outbreak and that the anti-rabies operation may be very challenging, proper Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) that has been agreed to has to be followed and adhered to,” stressed Dr Yii.

“In addition, while the Veterinary Public Health Ordinance may give certain powers for the authorities to catch suspected rabid dogs even though they are in the compound, it is also important that the owners of such dogs be allowed to prove, with evidence or documents of vaccination, before the dogs are caught or shot,” he elaborated.

Dr Yii said just because a dog was barking aggressively doesn’t mean it is rabid.

Meanwhile. he advised the public not to disrupt the work of the authorities and to play their part by getting their pets vaccinated. On the other hand, the authorities must also be reasonable in handling queries from the public.

“That is why I hope the State Disaster Management Committee under Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas will make sure the authorities and those assisting them to follow the agreed SOP to not cause further security concerns and anxieties among the public on the matter.

“I am collecting reports of all the complaints and hope the Committee will conduct an independent and thorough investigation into all the complaints lodged to make sure that this anti-rabies operation is done well and also done right,” he said. — DayakDaily