MIRI: The Miri City Council and animals lover group Zero Strays Miri are trying to come out with a comprehensive plan to reduce stray dogs and cats in the city.
Mayor Lawrence Lai met with Zero Strays committee members and several counsellors this week to look into the situation.
Zero Strays Miri excecutive president Sterwina Kho said the group had already embarked on a trade, neuter and release programme (NTR) and so far had rounded up over 700 stray cats and dogs.
The group is asking the council not to capture and put down the animals. She said that the council workers had captured some of the animals even though they had been neutered.
Lai said the council had received public complaints that some neutered dogs had continued to cause a nuisance. Thus, they were rounded up.
However, it was decided at the meeting that the council would liaise with Zero Strays in future in cases related to the neuted strays.
Lai, however, said the greater problem was how to control the population of the strays in the city.
“The council appreciates the effort by Zero Strays to help the strays but the question is whether the method can reduce the problem over the long term,” he said.
“We feel that the best option may be to microchip the animals so that we can track the owner.”
Lai said a vet had suggested that all animals be tagged with this microchip under the skin.
“The council agrees that this could be a method to prevent animal dumping. For those animals that have microchips we may even waive the licensing fees. This will be studied by the council in detail.”
Lai said the council welcomed more cooperation from NGOs and the community in helping on this public issue.