Kho (second left) kneels to pat a dog as it is given an injection by a veterinarian (left).
MIRI: Over 2,500 dogs in the city have been vaccinated against rabies infection after the conclusion of the fourth mass rabies vaccination programme here last Sunday.
However, members of Zero Strays Miri (ZSM) said though it was comforting to see dog owners bring their pets to be vaccinated to give them the best protection they needed, it was alarming to see that many dog owners did not know how to handle their pets during certain situations.
“We notice that a lot of dog owners did not know how to handle their dogs during certain moments.
“There were a few cases where the dogs were getting nervous and acted aggressively. Their owners harshly pulled the dog chain and even used a wooden plank to discipline their dog.
“To be honest, as a dog lover, it was very heart-breaking to see these dogs being handled in such manner. We realised that there are actually a lot of people who do not know how to handle their pet properly,” ZSM president Sterwina Kho told The Borneo Post yesterday.
Dog owners use various means to bring their pets for injection at the vaccination centre.
She believed sudden change of environment, barking of dogs at the same time and the sight of many strangers
appearing at one place could be the reasons why the dogs acted aggressively.
“We demonstrated to the owners how to comfort their pets by giving their pet a soft pat or cuddle on the stomach and under the chin and by kneeling down on their side,” she said.
During injection, Kho said pet owners were often told to kneel in front of their dog, which enables the veterinarian to inject the dog on its rear.
“More importantly, dogs often look up to their owners to find comfort. By kneeling in front of them, they would feel safe and at ease. We want the dogs to feel comfortable,” she said.
Zero Strays Miri was the only non-profit organisation that was invited by Miri City Council (MCC) and the Resident’s Office to collaborate at all the four mass rabies vaccination events over the past weeks.
ZSM is also the only NGO that has collaborated with MCC for a long-term project to resolve the issue over stray animals in Miri.
On behalf of ZSM, Kho said they were very happy with the huge support shown by dog owners in Miri.
“There were those who brought about half a dozen of dogs to the vaccination centre. To be honest, it really takes a lot of effort to do that.
“We want to help create a harmonious and safe haven for the animals and we hope the dogs can be well protected from diseases and from human mistreatment,” she added.