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By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Feb 26: Sarawak Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA)’s project paper to set up a low-cost spay and neuter clinic here to provide subsidised services is expected to be submitted to the state government next month.
Its president, Datin Donna Drury-Wee, revealed today that the venue had been identified and part of the cost accounting had been done.
“We will be working on the project paper and expect to hand it in by March to, hopefully, get a budget approved by the state government to set up the facility,” she told DayakDaily after the State Disaster Management Committee meeting on the first integrated rabies operation in Sarawak, chaired by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas.
She added that Uggah and Minister of Local Government and Housing Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian were briefed on this proposal last year, and both had indicated their support for it.
“In fact, Dr Sim has been urging us to get the paper out immediately as they will be supporting it.”
Wee stressed that neutering was the only way to reduce dumping of unwanted litters and the stray population.
“We are also hoping that when we get the volunteer vets to come in, we will see how to move them to smaller towns without vets throughout Sarawak to help with neutering.”
On Sept 8 last year, Wee said this proposed low-cost clinic aimed to provide subsidised spay and neuter services to companion animals belonging to the lower income group and free-roaming street cats and dogs brought in by registered community animal feeders.
The service will be offered strictly for the low-income group and rescued animals. It will not conflict with private veterinary services.
The cost to neuter a cat is about RM90 for a male and up to RM180 for a female, while neutering a male dog costs about RM200, and RM400 for a bitch.
The cost to set up three surgical units and obtain mid-range equipment is estimated at RM45,000, excluding renovation cost.
On the first integrated sweeping operation to contain rabies in Sarawak to be carried out in Lundu and Bau, Wee said the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) would be issuing a special collar with a number for stray dogs that have been vaccinated, especially those under the watch of community feeders that have undergone’Capture Neuter Vaccinated Return’ (CNVR).
“Hopefully, the targeted removal operation for stray and free-roaming dogs will only be the dogs with unknown status.
“And if and when the operation comes to Kuching, hopefully, the CNVR dogs that have double-collars on them will not be removed from the streets.”
SSPCA, she elaborated, would also arrange a time for DVS to visit its shelter and issue the special collars to its dogs.
“The collars have numbers on them, and we hope it can last two to three years so after that when the animals are due for vaccination, they can get new ones if the collars drop off.”
On criticisms by certain quarters on the state government’s strategy to put strays to sleep in an effort to address the rabies outbreak in Sarawak, which had been declared a ‘Stage 2 Disaster’ and prompted an integrated approach, Wee reemphasised that pet owners should take greater responsibility for animals.
“If you own a dog, you should keep it securely within your own compound. And if you are walking a dog, it should always be on a leash,” she said, reiterating that the local council by-laws did not allow pet dogs to roam freely.
“I have a friend who jogs often, and he actually does feel threatened when seeing dogs that would form a pack and follow him.” — DayakDaily