MBKS to amend ordinance to make microchipping mandatory for pets

Dogs. — DayakDaily file pic

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, March 11: Kuching South City Council (MBKS) will amend the ordinance to make microchipping pets like dogs and cats mandatory, including enforcing a heavy penalty as measures to reduce the number of strays, hold owners responsible for their pets, enhance enforcement, and prevent and control rabies.

Mayor Dato Wee Hong Seng said that the amendment would also require pet shops, home-based breeders or farm breeders to obtain licenses from the council, while dogs and cats from pet stores must be microchipped before they are sold or given away.

“The microchip will hold the pet owner’s information, and if they decide to give the pets away, they will need to change the information on the chip.

“If the pet animals become a stray and are caught, the owner will be penalised between RM3,000 and RM5,000. This will enhance enforcement and make those who want to own pets think twice,” he shared during his ShallWeeTalk live session today.

Wee said the committee has resolved to amend the ordinance to make microchipping compulsory, to which the Minister of Public Health, Housing and Local Government Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian has agreed following the Asia for Animals Sarawak Conference on March 6.

Under the present ordinance, microchipping pet animals is voluntary.

In addition, Wee said at the beginning of April, a periodic report, either weekly or monthly, on positive rabies cases, dog bite cases, as well as the hotspot areas for rabies infections will be provided to the public.

“This is just like the management of Covid-19. We will disclose the hotspot areas where positive rabies infections have been detected. This information should be relayed to the public,” he added.

While efforts to remove targeted strays from streets are ongoing, he pointed out that the public should know that it is no easy task because stray dogs are highly mobile and can move easily from place to place.

On another challenge, he mentioned that enforcement officers faced verbal abuse from certain quarters.

“That’s why we always carry out operations with the police. I agree that human and animal lives are important, as I am a pet owner, but human lives will always be prioritised.

“We must realise that rabies is almost always fatal but preventable, and as such, we need to deal with the root cause of the issue,” he added.

Wee emphasised that being a responsible pet owner is not only about providing necessities of life for pets but ensuring that they are protected through vaccination and microchipping while ensuring that they won’t harm others.

While the policy details are still being worked on, he also welcomes public input and ideas to improve the decision-making process. — DayakDaily