Pilot project to curb rabies in Lundu “a success” — Uggah

Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas

LUNDU, March 5: A total of 673 strays were removed and 2,559, or 91 per cent, were successfully vaccinated during the four-day operation to curb the spread of rabies in the area.

State Disaster Management Committee chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, who chaired a post mortem of the first phase of the rabies pilot project today, declared the operation a success.

The dog population in Lundu before the operation was estimated to be 2,794.

“Overall, the operation was a success, especially in achieving its set objectives; to vaccinate 100 per cent of the dog (pets) population and the target removal of strays.

“The standard operating procedure (SOP) of this operation was to work closely with the village chiefs and community leaders, who were there to guide the team in identifying strays for removal.

“Some shortcomings were also identified during the meeting, and we’ve discussed these shortcomings in detail to ensure for a better operational outcome during the next phase of the operation,” Uggah said in a statement.

The meeting at the Lundu Community Council Hall was also attended by local community leaders and agencies involved in the operation.

The deputy chief minister also touched on issues being raised on social media with regards to alleged removal of pet dogs, which have been vaccinated.

“So far, three investigation papers have been filed against those who had spread fake news in the social media. We notice that there are a lot of allegations on social media and threats made to our personnel on the ground.

“Therefore, I would like to advise the team to ensure that the process of the operation is clearly followed,” he said.

In addition, the Department of Veterinary Services Sarawak (DVSS) pointed out that under Section 37(4), any dog found within a rabies-infected area, which is not under effective control in accordance with subsection (3), may be destroyed by authorities.

Any authorised person may enter any land, building or premises for the purpose of carrying out the provision of this subsection.

Even though the dogs were vaccinated but found to be free roaming, they may also be euthanized unless it was confirmed that the dog is immune from rabies infection, Uggah continued.

He also highlighted the Section 37 (3) of the Veterinary Public Health Ordinance 1999, which stated that the owner or person in charge of any dog within rabies-infected areas must ensure the dogs are kept under effective control, either by confining within an enclosed area, tied up or properly secured with a collar or harness.

Uggah added that DVSS had sent out five mopping teams to Lundu District for vaccination and surveillance programs after the sweeping operation.

This is to ensure the main goal to vaccinate 100 per cent of dogs will be achieved, and at the same time, to install the dog collar as an official marking beside the issuance of vaccination certificates.

The state Veterinary Services will conduct a mass vaccination on March 9 at Dewan Persatuan Masyarakat Stampin in Kampung Stutong Baru.

The department is calling the public to bring their dogs for free vaccination from 9am to 2pm. — DayakDaily