KUCHING: Dog owners in Sarawak have been reminded to get their pets vaccinated against rabies or face action under the Veterinary Public Health Ordinance.
State Veterinary Services Department director Dr Adrian Susin Ambud said dogs in Sarawak must be vaccinated yearly in accordance with the Anti-Rabies Vaccination Order.
He said dog owners who failed to comply with the order could be fined up to RM2,500 under Section 40(7) of the Ordinance.
"Dogs without evidence of vaccination may be detained or removed under this section," he said in a statement on Wednesday (March 17).
This comes after two more people were reported to have died from rabies in Sarawak on March 13, bringing the number of fatalities to 31 since an outbreak was declared in the state in 2017.
Dr Adrian said the department had conducted rabies tests on 150 animal samples this year, with 31 testing positive.
He also said the department had carried out a cumulative total of 202,700 anti-rabies vaccinations across Sarawak to date.
"All dog owners are urged to get their dogs vaccinated at the nearest divisional veterinary office.
"Continuous surveillance and vaccination across Sarawak will be carried out by the department," he said.
Dr Adrian also called on animal lovers not to adopt strays with unknown vaccination status and to seek immediate medical treatment if bitten by an animal, even their own pets.
In addition, he said dog owners must keep their pets under effective control and those who let their dogs roam freely in the streets were liable to a fine of up to RM2,500 under the Veterinary Public Health Ordinance.