150,000 pet dogs given free anti-rabies vaccination in Sarawak

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah speaks to reporters after the launch of World Rabies Day in Kuching October 26, 2019. — Picture by Sulok Tawie
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah speaks to reporters after the launch of World Rabies Day in Kuching October 26, 2019. — Picture by Sulok Tawie

KUCHING, Oct 26 — The government has to date provided anti-rabies vaccination for free to 150,000 or 65 per cent of the estimated number of pet dogs in Sarawak, said Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas.

He said the dog owners must ensure that the dogs receive a booster vaccination every 12 months.

“For every injection the cost (borne by the Sarawak government) is RM2. We will continue to provide free vaccination every year until Sarawak is declared rabies-free,” he told a press conference after launching World Rabies Day 2019 and an Education and Health Awareness Programme here today.

Apart from dogs, Uggah said over 10,000 cats were also vaccinated after about 100 cases of rabies were confirmed to have been spread by the animal.

He said the Sarawak government was also in the final phase of making house to house calls to ensure that pet dogs are given rabies vaccination and stray dogs are eliminated with the help of the army and the police.

“We urge the public not to worry over the involvement of the military and the police in this special operation as they will not be shooting the stray dogs, but are only there to ensure safety,” he said.

Uggah said the special operation had been implemented in the state since March 1 and so far the government had spent RM9 million adding that the programme had the support of the central government.

Following this, the rabies-vaccination and programme to eliminate stray dogs would be focused at the border areas to prevent the spread of the disease to Brunei and Sabah,

“One of the ways we can work together is to exchange data (information) with Brunei and Sabah. Sabah will be sending over some veterinary officers while Brunei will share information to ensure that our borders are protected,” he said.

Earlier in his speech Uggah said it had been targeted that Sarawak would be rabies-free by year 2025, and human rabies deaths to end by 2021. — Bernama

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