Lee (seated third right) with members of the committees and among them (seated from left) Julaihi, Nyurak, Ting, Dr Stephen and Dr Slymie.
MIRI: After two dogs in Piasau Jaya and Lutong Shell here were tested positive of rabies virus as of Thursday, Miri is declaring an all out war on rabies.
Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Lee Kim Shin said all the relevant government agencies and non-governmental organisations like Zero Strays will be roped in to carry out a coordinated campaign against the spread of rabies in the Division.
“Today we are calling for the agencies under the Miri Disaster Management Committee, including Zero to work out integrated efforts preventing rabies from spreading now that two out of the 16 dog samples in Piasau Jaya and Lutong Shell were tested positivie,” said Lee to reporters, yesterday evening after chairing the committee meeting at the Miri Resident Office.
Among those present were Piasau assemblyman Datuk Sebastian Ting, Miri deputy Resident Nyurak Keti, deputy mayor of Miri City Julahi Mohamad and the council secretary Morshidi Fredrick, deputy director of Veterinary Department, Dr Stephen Gabriel and the Divisional Veterinary officer, Dr Sylmie Al-Harir, the director of Miri Hospital. Dr Jack Wong and Zero Strays representative Solvanna Kho.
According to Lee among the measures to be taken are mass vaccination of dogs, catching all stray dogs within 10 km radius from Lutong and Piasau Jaya and activation of the Operation Room of the Miri Disaster Management Committee.
“We need to take these drastic measures as life of the people is at stake and thus public should give us the full cooperation. Those with dogs must have them vaccinated and not keep them in enclosed area,” said Lee.
Vaccination of the dogs can be done free of charge at the Veterinary Department compound at Pelita Commercial centre from 8.30am to 11.30am on Monday to Friday.
Pet owners can call the department’s number 085-411866 for further information.
He said during this rabies disaster period, the department will enforce strictly the Veterinary Public Heath Ordinance, 1999 pertaining to rabies infected area, whereby offenders found guilty of contravening the various clauses could be fined up to RM2,500 in default six months jail.
Meanwhile, MCC is increasing its dog catching units to three and will intensify their operation from 8am to 10pm daily. All dogs roaming in public places will be caught and put in temporary shelter and those unclaimed within 48 hours will be put to sleep.
Public needing help to remove their dogs can call the council hotline or whatsapp at 019-8960370 ( 24 hours operation) or during office hours at 082-424111.
Zero Strays will also mobilise their volunteers to help in catching the stray dogs under their TNR (trapped, neutered and released) programme.
Meanwhile, Lee said the Miri Hospital has set up a unit specially to handle those with dog bites.
“We have also requested the state and national disaster management committees to provide enough vaccines for standby at the hospital for patients,” adding that at the moment, no cases of anyone reported bitten by dogs seeking treatment from the hospital.