Enact pet microchipping law, state govt reminded

Dr Kelvin Yii

KUCHING, Feb 20: The state government has been urged to expedite the enactment of a law to enable the monitoring of dog ownership through pet microchip implants.

Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii stressed that the move was crucial, especially to address the issue of dog dumping by irresponsible owners, to curb the spread of rabies in Sarawak.

This is possible because the microchip, which is a radio frequency implant, provides a permanent identity for pets. This is to properly identify the pet owners so that they can be held accountable for their pets.

“According to Minister of Local Government and Housing Dr Sim Kui Hian, such a Bill was supposed to be tabled in July 2018, but it was said to be delayed to November 2018, claiming that there were other more urgent matters such as the Native Customary Rights (NCR) land issue that had to be introduced,” he said in a statement today.

However, Dr Yii lamented that in the November sitting, no such bill was tabled.

“This clearly shows the lack of urgency shown by the state government to properly deal with the outbreak of rabies which was first detected in July of 2017.”

He stressed that at that time, there were only five villages that were declared as rabies-infected areas and only contained in Serian, but since then, the outbreak has spread to many different places.

“Currently, there are 61 rabies-affected areas across the state, except Limbang division, and it has so far claimed 16 human lives.

“I have been receiving feedback recently by different stakeholders that cases of dog and even cat dumping have increased in many areas around Kuching, and this will, of course, increase the risk of more dogs being infected and spreading the deadly disease even among humans.”

Dr Yii emphasised that there could be multiple reasons for this, including the lack of awareness by the pet owners themselves and the lack of understanding on the process of dog licence registration introduced by the local council.

“It was only last year that the ministry announced that all new dog licensing and control by-laws will come into force on Dec 1, 2018.”

However, based on feedback, he said the registration process might be somewhat complicated, and this had hindered many pet owners from registering their dogs.

“Thus, local councils should look into ways to simplify the licensing process. They could also set up designated dog pounds all around the state to reduce dumping of dogs on the streets.” — DayakDaily