Don’t forget the cats in fight against rabies, Chong tells Uggah

Chong speaking to reporters at the DUN this morning (May 9. 2019).

By Nigel Edgar

KUCHING, May 9: Sarawak Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders are urging the State Disaster Management Committee to look into rabies infection among cats too, as this has been taken lightly till now.

Chong Chieng Jen (DAP-Kota Sentosa) raised this matter in the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting this morning by posing a question to Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas when the latter was delivering his winding-up speech. Uggah is also the Committee’s chairman.

“Uggah has spent a certain amount of time on addressing the rabies issue on vaccination of dogs. In his reply, rabies found on cats is totally omitted, not mentioned, until I brought it up to question him. Then he confirmed that there are incidences that were found positive, where cats are infected with rabies.

“He told us they are also going to vaccinate cats. But so far, I don’t see any vaccination of cats, and when I asked him for figures, he said he didn’t have the figures.

“Obviously, the state government is not giving any attention on rabies found in cats. If the amount of rabies (sic) found in cats increases to the amount of rabies (sic) found in dogs, this is going to be more serious an issue and can escalate to pandemic because of the simple fact that cats are harder to contain,” said Chong to the press at the DUN media centre.

He opined that the state government had not been serious in handling the rabies issue in the state and instead politicised the issue.

“Now that we have found incidences of cats infected with rabies, it could be a starting point. So, more serious efforts and attention should be paid to address this issue. This is also under the state autonomy and power to handle this issue,” Chong added.

Earlier, during his ministerial speech, Uggah informed the august House that out of the 15 phases to eradicate rabies in the state, phase 3 has been completed as at May 3, covering Lundu, Bau, Padawan, Samarahan and Bandar Kuching.

He said a total of 4,350 stray dogs were removed from the streets and 10,514 pet dogs vaccinated. This, Uggah said, meant 120,353 dogs or 57 per cent had been vaccinated statewide out of an estimated total of 210,000 pet dogs.

“From July 1, 2017, till May 3, 2019, an accumulated 25,593 cases of dog bites have been reported,” Uggah added. — DayakDaily