MBKS Mayor: Setting up place for rabies control impractical, SSPCA overwhelmed with 300 strays, RM40k monthly cost

File photo of four stray dogs seen loitering in an open space.

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Jan 20: The animal shelter managed by the Sarawak Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) is currently at full capacity, providing care for over 300 stray dogs and cats with its operation demands 12 bags of rice daily, with an estimated monthly cost of RM40,000.

As such, MBKS Mayor Dato Wee Hong Seng deemed the suggestion by certain quarters to allocate a piece of land to keep stray dogs and monitor their symptoms for rabies before releasing the healthy ones after vaccination is impractical.

“Moreover, the Sarawak government has already designated a two-acre land for SSPCA to establish an animal village, which is currently awaiting approval for construction,” he said during his ShallWeeTalk online session today.

Wee reiterated the council’s commitment to taking necessary actions against stray and pet dogs exhibiting signs of rabies.
He emphasized the council’s responsiveness to emergency reports and encouraged pet owners to report behavioural changes promptly.

“We have a system in place to deal with stray population. Also, please do not let your dogs roamed around outside your house compound freely. Most importantly, get them vaccinated,” he urged.

In light of Ministry of Food Industry, Commodity and Regional Development’s (M-FICORD) recent declaration of Kuching and Bintulu divisions as rabies-infected areas, Wee expressed the council’s readiness to collaborate with relevant parties, including SSPCA, to address and prevent the worsening rabies issue.

“Any dog roaming freely on the streets will be dealt with humanely, according to the situation and advice from professional. If there are reasonable grounds to believe that the dog is rabid or a danger to public safety, then we will exercise our powers to contain that threat,” he assured.

From this coordinated approach involving M-FICORD as well as Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC), Wee stressed that all relevant departments and agencies including the local government are not avoiding their responsibility as claimed.

“At this point of time, it is unnecessary to spread irrelevant information or messages that could mislead the public. Instead, we need to guide our citizens to do the right thing.

“It is also unfair to push the responsibility to the council when we should urge and educate our residents to be responsible pet owners.

“Do what you have to do, but don’t be political. Do politics properly and honestly. I believe the public can see for themselves the performance of all parties, including MBKS and myself. If you serve the people, helped them address their problems, go ahead. Let’s collaborate and work in unity in addressing all issues,” he said in responding to criticisms from certain quarters. — DayakDaily