Still on rabies alert, Sarawak DCM ‘shocked’ as stray attacks mount at popular Kuching park

Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah (centre) sharing information with state Veterinary Services Department director Dr Adrian Susin before the start of the state disaster management committee meeting in Kuching July 26, 2019. — Picture courtesy of Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister’s Office
Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah (centre) sharing information with state Veterinary Services Department director Dr Adrian Susin before the start of the state disaster management committee meeting in Kuching July 26, 2019. — Picture courtesy of Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister’s Office

KUCHING, July 26 — Stray dogs have attacked people including a five-year-old boy at the Reservoir Park tour and fitness spot here, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah said today.

All the bite victims have been vaccinated for rabies and treated at the Sarawak General Hospital (SGH), he said before confirming that one of the four dogs trapped by Kuching North City Hall tested positive for the incurable disease.

“This is really shocking to us as our previous anti-rabies operation had included the park. Obviously, the stray dogs are still there,” he said after chairing the management committee meeting here.

Yesterday, Kuching North City Mayor Datuk Abang Wahab Abang Julai told reporters that the park has been closed off to visitors after a jogger was bitten by a stray dog last Tuesday morning.

The jogger was rushed to SGH for anti-rabies vaccination at SGH.

Sarawak is still working to contain the rabies outbreak that was first reported in Serian Division on July 1, 2017, and which has claimed 18 lives already.

At the management committee meeting, Uggah directed the police to identify public spots around major towns in the state were strays were an issue.

He also urged the public to inform authorities of free-roaming dogs they spot in their area.

The DCM further directed the police, Sarawak Veterinary Services Department and local councils to review by-laws to see if any may apply to those found feeding strays in public.

“We are not against such noble deed but now with the outbreak we should stop feeding them otherwise our operation is being compromised,” he said.

“The strays are now becoming a serious threat,” he said, adding that around 300 dog bite cases were recorded statewide each week.

In one incident, a 27-year-old man who adopted two pups from an organisation was bitten by one of them.

The victim had not realised the danger and failed to seek medical treatment until it was too late, he said.

Uggah advised any who are bitten by animals to immediately clean their wounds under running water for no less than 10 minutes.

“Then they should go at once to the hospital where they would be referred to the Post Dog Bites Clinic for further treatment.

“After office hours, they should approach the Emergency Unit of the hospital. The officer on duty there will know what to do for treatment,” he added.

He again called on owners to get their pet dogs and cats vaccinated for rabies and advised would-be pet owners to ensure that their animals’ vaccinations are complete and up to date.

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