MIRI, Oct 3: Miri Mayor Adam Yii has appealed to the public not to believe rumours that the council’s dog catching teams were shooting stray dogs on sight in order to curb the outbreak of rabies.
“MCC dog catching teams are all following the SOP (standard operating procedure). If there is any evidence of mishandling, please do let us know,” Yii told a press conference here today.
During the press conference, he was shown an image of a stray dog with a dart in its head. The photo has been posted on the Miri Community Facebook page, and it triggered anger among netizens. The post has so far garnered more than 500 views and nearly 400 comments.
“This photo is an attempt to implicate MCC’s dog catching teams as being cruel. This is not correct,” Yii commented.
On the rabies scare, Yii said his office had intensified its dog catching operations ever since the city was declared a rabies infected area on Sept 27. As of yesterday, 1,470 stray canines have been rounded up.
He explained that the focus was on high-risk dogs.
“Those dogs that have undergone the trap, neuter, vaccinate and release (TNVR) programme will be referred to NGOs (non-governmental organisations). These NGOs will be responsible for removing the dogs from the streets, and they will keep it at their shelters,” he said.
To overcome the rabies outbreak, he said public cooperation and understanding were vital as “it is not a light matter”.
Yii said before the city was declared a rabies infected area, all the dogs caught would be kept in the pound for 48 hours before they are either released or disposed of.
However, ever since the outbreak, these dogs are kept at the council’s pound under the watchful eyes of Miri Veterinary Services Department personnel.
He advised pet owners to keep their dogs indoors or within their compound.
“We would also like to remind the public not to dispose dog carcasses openly or indiscriminately as it may contribute to environmental health issues. We will assist to dispose of carcasses,” he assured.
For enquiries or complaints about stray dogs, the public may call the council’s hotline at 019-8960370 or 085-424111. — DayakDaily