Penang lifts order to cull rabies-infected dogs in state

Lim said the state has not recorded any more new rabies cases in dogs since September 21. — Picture by K.E. Ooi
Lim said the state has not recorded any more new rabies cases in dogs since September 21. — Picture by K.E. Ooi

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GEORGE TOWN, Oct 9 — Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng revoked today an earlier order against rabies infections, immediately calling for an end to the culling exercise of stray dogs in the northern state.

The Penang lawmaker said the state has not recorded any more new rabies cases in dogs since September 21.

"The Rabies Vaccination Order (Penang) 2015 which was given on September 15 will remain and all dog owners must vaccinate their dogs against rabies," he said in a press conference at his office here.

He said the prevalence of rabies in the state is low and this was why he decided to revoke the order.

"I have discussed with the Veterinary Services Department director and she has no problem with lifting this order," he said.

Lim said the department only informed the state government that there were no reports of new rabies cases in Penang since September 21.

As of today, Penang only has four rabies cases, all are stray dogs.

Facing tremendous pressure from animal groups since the state gave the order to cull all stray dogs on September 16, Lim hoped the lifting of the order will not earn him more criticism.

"I've been accused of eating dog meat because of that order and now that I've lifted the order, I hope they won't accuse me of other things now," he said.

As of October 5, Penang has killed 1,711 animals, compared to 1,693 in Kedah, and 299 in Perlis.

Kedah and Perlis have higher numbers of rabies infections, 18 cases in Kedah and 20 cases in Perlis but culling have already stopped in both states.

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