KUCHING, Jan 15 — Stampin MP Chong Chieng Jen today urged the state government and the Kuching South City Council (MBKS) to implement a strays-free environment in the city following recent rabid dog bite incidents in a housing estate.
However, he explained that he is not advocating for the senseless culling of stray dogs — proposing instead for the government to set aside a plot of land to keep the stray dogs caught by MBKS and test them for rabies.
“Stray dogs found to be positive will need to be culled while the non-infected ones will be neutered,” he said in a statement.
He said anyone claiming to be the owner of the dogs caught by MBKS can always claim back the dog subject to reimbursing MBKS for the expenses incurred and payment of a fine imposed for letting out the dogs.
Chong urged the state government and MBKS to take immediate action in the interest of public safety.
He said the recent rabid dog bite incidents incident involving 11 victims at Tabuan Desa Indah has exposed the lackadaisical attitude and ineffectiveness of the state government and MBKS in handling the rabies control in the city.
“When rabies first broke out, there were serious actions taken by the state government to control the spread of the disease,” he said.
Chong, who is Sarawak DAP chairman, said stray dogs were then caught and for a while the streets of Kuching could see no strays running around.
“After a while, like most government policies, the Malay proverb of ‘hangat-hangat tahi ayam’ culture set in and the stray dogs are again seen roaming the streets of the City,” he said.
He said a recent statement of MBKS Mayor Datuk Wee Hong Seng blaming the spread of rabies on the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) was irresponsible when the danger of rabies to Kuching residents comes from the stray dogs on the street and MBKS is the authority entrusted by the government to catch strays from the streets.
He stressed that the main concern and worry of Kuching residents is the stray dogs biting and causing harm to them, saying that MBKS has been tasked to catch these strays from the street.