Rabies outbreak: State government tightens the loose ends

Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas

KUCHING, Oct 5: Sarawak today imposed an immediate ban on all pet dogs and cats from outside the state that do not have proper documentation from the state Veterinary Service Department or the state Veterinary Authority Import Permit.

State Disaster Management Committee chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said even those with permits would need to be quarantined for a period of time, depending on their place of origin. Animals from the peninsula would be quarantined for one month, while those from rabies-infected countries would be quarantined for six months.

Only countries that have been declared rabies-free by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) would be exempted from being quarantine, he said.

Those found flouting this regulation or does not have proper documentation while bringing in pet dogs and cats into the state would be charged under Section 9 of the Public Veterinary Health Ordinance 1999. If found guilty, they would be fined a maximum of RM50,000 or imprisoned for a term not exceeding six months or both.

“Movements of cats and dogs from rabies-outbreak areas are banned unless with written Movement Permit from the state Veterinary Authority. The police would be conducting regular checks with roadblocks at designated areas to ensure no members of the public are committing this offence.

“Those who are found moving cats or dogs out from outbreak areas within Sarawak would be charged under Section 37(3) of the Penal Code. Offenders are to be compounded up to RM2,500 or jailed not exceeding three months or both,” cautioned Uggah.

Soldiers will be manning the border areas to ensure dog owners along the border give their dogs rabies shots; otherwise, the dogs would have to be disposed of and the owners would be compounded up to RM2,500 under Section 40 of the Public Veterinary Health Ordinance 1999.

Abandoning or dumping of unwanted dogs and cats is also an offence. If found guilty, offenders would be charged under Section 73(1) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of the Public Veterinary Health Ordinance 1999, with a compound of up to RM2,000 or jail not exceeding six months or both. — DayakDaily