Thursday, October 01, 2015

Join Hands (And Paws) To Put An End to Rabies.

Join hand (and paws) ro put an end to rabies

Join hands (and paws) to put an end to rabies
Today, September 28, is World Rabies Day.
Until more than a week ago – when news of a rabies outbreak in the states of Perak, Kedah and Penang had suddenly erupted and gripped the nation - I didn't even know that such an international event existed.
And I'm sure that by now you have heard it all.

The war of views between the veterinary and health experts and animal welfare groups. There is no need to bore you and repeat it here. However, I did jot down several points of interest which I thought was worthwhile for some of us to think about. They are listed in no particular order:
Get the facts! I discovered that being emotional never helped at all.

Of course, it was terribly upsetting to realise that all strays in the affected states would need to be killed in order to try and stamp out rabies before it took root and turned into an epidemic within three weeks.

The reason to include so-called "healthy" strays in the target list was because it was virtually impossible to say which dogs are affected and which aren't. And with no sufficient rabies vaccines available for now, there was really no time to lose.
Culling is critical: Despite all the criticism over culling, I realised that sometimes it was a necessary evil – especially in the beginning stages.

In fact, the WHO in Geneva supports it - along with the World Organisation for Animal Health or OIE in France. They both apparently already possess a working relationship with our Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) in Putrajaya for some time now.

However, it must be pointed out that the culling they are speaking about is "humane culling". This specifically means by way of euthanasia. The culling methods these organisations condemn are poisoning dogs, electrocuting and bludgeoning them to death. These have been employed by several countries including China in the wake of rabies.

The way I see it, we are very lucky here because with an army of more than 200 veterinarians deployed to the northern region, the strays are all being put to sleep in a humane way. And that, I think, is the best thing that any animal lover the world over can be thankful for in a situation where there is no other pathway than to take this horrible road to hell situation.
Vaccination a must: The WHO and the OIE do, however, insist a vaccination programme must follow with humane culling. And I'm glad that the DVS has clarified that these exercises are already being done with owners' dogs as they await more vaccines.

The bottom line with all this is, I am happy and confident with how the DVS and the three affected local governments have been handling the matter under their supervision.
Rabies a game-changer for all: It can't be denied that the return of rabies since we were free of it from 1999 has affected us all. Local councils should get more serious by setting up a regular committee to meet at least monthly to tackle stray management problems. They should invite animal welfare organisations to assist them with ideas and hold dog awareness programmes like talks, events and activities with residents to inculcate responsible pet ownership. Local councils should also work closely with the DVS, which they rarely do – except for when a crisis occurs.

Animal welfare groups should get out of their high chair and build a working and lasting relationship with local councils. They should stop criticising them all the time and establish common grounds where they can work with them in order to help improve the quality of lives of all animals under their jurisdiction.

Feeders of strays should now rethink their practice in focusing how their efforts will not create vulnerability among the strays they want to help. Perhaps now they can better appreciate the reason why local councils have always warned them about feeding strays instead of having them rehomed.

Animal lovers are also likely to understand the role of dogcatchers now – and why they catch strays off the streets, risking their own lives as they do it.

Animal lovers and groups need to also look beyond themselves and their dogs to understand the rights of other citizens who wish to walk in a park without being attacked by strays, stop blaming children when strays bite them and pay attention to all the local council laws when keeping a dog or cat.
One of the ugliest things that I witnessed in this episode was how Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng was cursed for ordering the culling of stray dogs in Penang.
Not only did these so-called "dog lovers" post nasty things about him in his Facebook page, but some even wished that he and his family would die for the "karma" he is responsible for in culling strays.
Now that hurts.
Not just because of the words themselves but for the fact that there were supposedly "dog loving people". Dogs by nature are known to be all forgiving and loving.
I recall many years ago when I was at a meeting attended by some VIPs. Because I had no means of transport (a friend dropped me off) I went around the room asking virtually everyone for a lift back to my home.
They all turned me down except for one guy who said, "Yes."
He helped carry me into his car first and then my wheelchair into his car boot.
I taught him how to fold my wheelchair. I showed him which parts of it came off and where to place my cushion.
Little did I realise then that the kind and caring gentleman who helped me that day would not only one day turn out to be a chief minister of Penang but that he would also be the one fighting very hard today in the state to keep all humans and dogs safe in the wake of this dreaded and deadly disease. needs all our support at this time to help us put an end to rabies threat in Malaysia. – September 28, 2015.PET+BLOGSPOT is the ONLINE BLOG of the Malaysian Animal-Assisted Therapy for the Disabled and Elderly Association or Petpositive. Our stories are CURRENT, ACCURATE and RELIABLE. We offer both local and foreign news on animals, disability and the elderly. PET+BLOGSPOT was first established in October 2007. Our hits since then are now 250,000 and ever increasing! PET+BLOGSPOT is updated daily. Kindly note that views expressed in PET+BLOGSPOT are not necessarily those of PETPOSITIVE. You may also visit our Webpage by browsing: You can also find us in Facebook under PETPOSITIVE EMPOWERMENT. Please sign up as a FOLLOWER of this Blog if you haven't done so already in order to show us your kind support for our work. Thank you!

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