NGO offers to vaccinate strays in Penang

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 20 Sep 2015

Jab time: A veterinarian injecting a pet dog during a ‘Rabies Awareness Campaign’ organised by the State Veterinary Services Department in Pokok Sena, Kedah.

PETALING JAYA: A global non-governmental organisation has offered to vaccinate stray dogs in Penang against rabies in a letter to Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

Members of an animal rights group who set up the “STOP The Killing” Facebook page, said the Worldwide Veterinary Service (WVS) had offered to help vaccinate the strays in Penang.

They said WVS was awaiting approval from the state government and the Federal Government to start the vaccination programme.

The group’s committee member and “STOP The Killing” Facebook page co-founder Lim Li Lian said WVS said: “WVS has enough vaccines for the strays as it conducts vaccination programmes all over the world.

“As soon as it gets the green light, it can come and implement the programme here,” she said, adding that WVS could also train volunteers on how to capture the strays properly and how to vaccinate them.

“The vaccines will be free as WVS can raise funds for them. All the organisation needs is approval from the government and help from us to recruit volunteers,” she said.

Lim, who is a certified Global Rabies Educator, said her group felt that a more comprehensive programme was needed to deal with the rabies outbreak.

WVS founder Dr Luke Gamble said in his letter to the Penang government that the NGO was currently working in Goa to eliminate rabies and that the task could be completed within five weeks.

He said WVS had also vaccinated stray dogs against rabies in Malawi in May within 20 days.

In a Whatsapp conversation with Malaysian Dogs Deserve Better founder Wani Muthiah which was distributed to the media, Guan Eng said WVS told the state government that the NGO could only come in October, adding that the “risk was too great”.

The Chief Minister said that within three weeks, the outbreak could become a full blown epidemic and the state government’s decision to cull stray dogs was based on advice from the Health and Veterinary Services departments.

Lim said mass culling of dogs was not the answer to the rabies outbreak in Penang, Perlis and Kedah.

“The best way to control the problem is to do a comprehensive programme by controlling the stray dogs population, doing mass vaccination for the strays and educating the public on rabies,” she said.

Lim said that annual vaccination and monitoring of the strays would help develop herd immunity, which would work as a protective measure against rabies outbreaks.

In George Town, about 30 animal lovers and members of the “STOP The Killing” Facebook group gathered at Straits Court in Straits Quay yesterday to protest against the state’s move to cull stray dogs.

They carried placards while chanting: “Penang Chief Minister, Stop Killing!”, along the driveway at the entrance, attracting passing motorists and shoppers.

Their representative, Barbara Janssen, said the group had emailed several international organisations to seek their assistance.

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