MIRI: Sarawak needs to enforce the Animal Welfare Act strictly by adopting the Malaysia Welfare Act 2015 (Act 772)(c) to reduce dumping of stray dogs and to educate the public on the danger it could cause to human health.
Minister of Transport Datuk Lee Kim Shin said animal dumping and animal cruelty had become very prevalent in the state, and the present Sarawak Animal Welfare Act is too simple and not an effective deterrent on would-be offenders.
“The authority concerned must enforce the law so that the people who are found dumping animals are punished with maximum sentence,” Lee told members of the press after visiting Zero Strays Shelter at Kuala Baram Miri yesterday.
Lee feared that the rampant dumping of stray animals could cause the outbreak of rabies.
“I have discussed with and proposed to the state veterinary director the need to enforce the law strictly so that stray animals will not increase in number as individuals or pet owners will be afraid to dump them because the penalty is big,” he said.
Under the Malaysia Animal Act 2015 (Act 772) (c), he added, any individual found committing the offence can be fined not less than RM20,000 or jailed for three years or both. Lee, who is also Senadin assemblyman, however noted that Miri currently did not have any rabies case although 71 dog bites had been reported.
He also said 1,300 dogs in Miri had been vaccinated by the Veterinary Department
He said the department is open from 8.30am to 11am and the public can bring their animals to get free vaccination against rabies.
Zero strays Miri president Sterwina Kho said the shelter currently houses over 300 dogs and over 80 cats and provides a sick bay for sick dogs including those suffering from cancer.