Sep 17, 2015: Following two cases of rabies in northern Seberang Prai and Balik Pulau, Penang, the state government has given the greenlight to the state veterinary department to destroy all stray dogs within the state, while pets are also to be subject to strict controls.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng signed the order, in force since Tuesday, to declare Penang a rabies infected area. As such, all strays will be rounded up and destroyed to prevent the spread of the disease.
The order also states that all dogs are quarantined within state borders, unless with written consent from the state veterinary department director.
Furthermore, all owners of dogs aged three months and above are required to have their pets vaccinated and tagged. All pet dogs are also to be kept indoors or caged, and must be on a lead for walks.
“If they are let loose, outside of private property, owners risk their dog being caught and destroyed as well,” Lim told a press conference at Komtar today.
The first rabies case on the mainland, following a dog bite, was confirmed on Monday, while the second case on the island was confirmed on Tuesday.
Lim said the situation was critical and Penang wanted to stop the spread of the disease.
State health exco Dr Afif Bahardin urged the public to understand the situation and the need to take this drastic, which was first detected in Perlis.
He said Malaysia’s last case of rabies was in 1999 and the World Organisation for Animal Health declared Malaysia rabies free in 2012. He believed that the new cases originated from Thailand.
Dr Afif said it was not possible to first detect which dogs were infected and kill only those positive of rabies, because there were 50,000 dogs in Penang and half of them were strays.
“Just this morning, we consulted animal welfare groups and they are trying to be supportive. They understand the situation and the risks. We hope the public will also understand.
“We are trying to protect human lives and also household pets. This is the way to stop the disease from spreading,” he said.
Rabies is a disease spread from animal to humans through bites and the transfer of mucus or saliva, and can cause death. The disease attacks the central nervous system, causing fever and muscular spasms.
Vaccination centres in Penang are as follows:
– 1877 Jalan Pokok Machang (northern Seberang Prai district),
– Cherok Tok Kun, Jalan Kulim and Jalan Bukit Tengah, Bukit Mertajam (central Seberang Prai district),
– Sungai Jawi, Sungai Bakap (southern Seberang Prai district),
– Jalan Kampung Jawa Baru (George Town),
– Balik Pulau (southwest district in the island).
Centres are open from 8.30am to 12.30pm and 2.30pm to 4.30pm. For details, call the head office of the state veterinary services department on 04-508-4368/369/370, or its command centre on 04-504-1407.