KUCHING: Sarawak is intensifying efforts to eradicate rabies after the disease claimed 12 lives since June last year.
The State Disaster Management Committee in a statement said the Kuching City South Council and the state Veterinary Service Department will begin to remove dogs roaming freely around the rabies-affected areas, including pet dogs, starting next Saturday (Sept 1).
The month-long operation will cover several urban areas namely, Tabuan Jaya, Tabuan Tranquility, Stutong, Taman BDC, Tabuan Heights, Stampin and Hakka Avenue.
The decision was made after a strategy meeting to eradicate rabies was chaired by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, who is also the committee's chairman.
Under the Veterinary Public Health Ordinance, it is an offence for dogs to roam freely or be brought out of a rabies-infected area without written permission from the State Veterinary Authority.
Those found guilty can be fined RM5,000 or jailed up to three months or both.
Meanwhile, dog owners must ensure their pets have been vaccinated and kept within their house compounds.
Other enforcement agencies, including the police, Armed Forces, General Operations Force, and Road Transport Department will also be involved in the operation.
Meanwhile, MBKS Mayor Datuk James Chan confirmed that the council has received the directive and will remove all licensed or unlicensed dogs found roaming freely.
Sarawak recorded 12 deaths from rabies since the virus was first detected in Serian last year.
The disease continues to spread further despite numerous massive vaccination campaigns and awareness initiatives. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd