Sarawak SSPCA denies dogs drowned in anti-rabies operation

Sim, when contacted, explained that the task of the Kuching South City Council is to catch stray dogs which were sent to the state Veterinary Services Department to be tested for rabies. — Picture by Sulok Tawie
Sim, when contacted, explained that the task of the Kuching South City Council is to catch stray dogs which were sent to the state Veterinary Services Department to be tested for rabies. — Picture by Sulok Tawie

KUCHING, Sept 4 ― Sarawak Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) has dismissed a media report that stray dogs caught in an ongoing operation to contain the spread of rabies have been put to sleep by drowning at the state Veterinary Services Department here.

“That is false reporting,” SSPCA chairman Datin Dona Drury-Wee told Malay Mail today.

She said she was at the department’s premises this morning to attend a meeting with the veterinary staffers.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah, who is also the state disaster management committee chairman, could not be reached for comment on the New Sarawak Tribune’s story.

Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian, when contacted, explained that the task of  Kuching South City Council (MBKS) is to catch stray dogs which were sent to the state Veterinary Services Department for the “needful” things to do including testing for rabies.

He said the department is under the state Ministry of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Rural Development, which is under Uggah’s purview.

The Sarawak-daily in its report today had claimed that dog hunters were drowning strays to save costs during  their anti-rabies drive in the Kuching-Padawan enclave.

According to the paper, a pet owner had claimed seeing a dog “drowned” in a water tank at the Sarawak Veterinary Department premises at Mile 9, Jalan Muara Tuang.

The owner, who wanted to remain anonymous, had also claimed that they were made to leave their handphones outside the office out of fear that they would take photographs or videos at the scene.

 ”We thought that dogs were being put down via lethal injections. But what we saw was a water tank inside the premises of the old Veterinary Department which was like a torture chamber.

“There were bloated bodies still in the water. Nearby, in a tank filled with water, there were dogs in the process of being drowned, gasping for breath,” the paper quoted the dog owner as saying.