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By Nigel Edgar
KUCHING, Oct 22: The local authorities will be enforcing the new Local Authorities (Dog Licensing and Control) By-Law 2018 starting Dec 1 this year, to ensure dog owners will be more responsible towards their pets.
This follows the outbreak of rabies last year, where 46 areas across the state have been declared as rabies outbreak areas to date.
Assistant Minister of Local Government Datu Dr Penguang Manggil said all this while, each of the 26 local authorities in the state had its own by-laws with regards to dog licensing.
With the introduction of the new by-law, he said, this would provide uniformity and consistency to the local authorities as well as give them more flexibility in enforcement.
“To achieve uniformity and consistency, it is necessary to consolidate all the 26 by-laws into one that is applicable throughout the state. Furthermore, there is also a need to update the licence fee structure and to increase the penalties for any contraventions of the by-laws, including the power to compound for any offence committed by dog owners,” he told a press conference here today.
Penguang added that there would be exemptions in terms of licensing for dogs belonging to the armed forces, the police, the Customs Department, the Veterinary Services Department, the Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) or any other government agencies from the enforcement of the proposed by-law.
“In other words, we are giving them an exemption, plus any other area exempted by the local authorities by notification and gazette, like longhouses or rural villages, and the Sarawak Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA).
“However, there is nothing to stop them from vaccinating their dogs. If we feel that there is a threat of rabies spreading in a longhouse, we can ask them to get their dogs vaccinated,” he pointed out.
Penguang added under the new by-law, the local authorities might require dog owners to prove that his or her dogs had been vaccinated before any licence could be issued.
Under by-law 4(1), once the licence has been issued, it will be valid for three years. The licensing fee for sterilised dogs and unsterilised ones are RM30 and RM90, respectively.
Unless otherwise approved by the local authorities, by-law 9 limits the number of dogs per property and specifies higher licensing fees for additional dogs. The licence fee for each additional dog is RM90 for sterilised dogs and RM270 for non-sterilised dogs.
Additionally, there is also a provision in the new by-laws that states that any unclaimed dog that has been seized from the streets and impounded after 48 hours will be put to sleep.
“The captured dogs would only be released to the owner upon him or her paying an impounding fee of RM50 per day or part thereof. Any unclaimed dogs shall be put to sleep,” said Penguang.
As such, he advised dog owners to not let their dogs roam around freely outside of their house compounds, as the local councils would still be allowed to capture them — vaccinated or not. — DayakDaily