MIRI (May 20): The Miri City Council has expressed regrets over what it termed as “completely preventable” death of dogs, including Xiao Bai, the dog that became famous online for regularly picking up takeaways from a chicken rice stall in Taman Tunku.
It said in a statement today that this, however, is notwithstanding the fact that the council was merely carrying out its duty to safeguard the safety and lives of Miri people against rabies.
It explained that on the morning of May 17, its Dog Catching Unit carried out a routine stray dogs removal operation at the parking lots near Boulevard Trading at Taman Tunku.
For the latest news, join The Borneo Post Telegram Channel
“In the operation, five stray dogs were darted with tranquilizers. Four of the darted stray dogs were retrieved and later put down but one of the stray dogs, later found to be named Xiao Bai by its owner, managed to escape. Xiao Bai was later found dead. The cause of death might have been due to its weak resistance to the tranquilizer.
“During the explanation given to Xiao Bai’s owner, the owner admitted that she had earlier on received advance written notice informing her to obtain a licence for her two dogs and to keep them within her compound,” the statement said.
Earlier this week, animal lovers received heartbreaking news of the death of Xiao Bai after the chicken rice stall operator, Alex Sim, shared it on his Facebook page.
Sim first posted a black and white picture of Xiao Bai with the caption “humans are scary” and later made another post saying “I am in a bad mood now, I cannot respond to your messages, apologies.”
MCC said it has been carrying out routine stray dogs removal operations, in addition to complaints by the public on stray dogs, under the instruction of the Ministry of Local Government and Housing, as part of rabies prevention.
It pointed out that a rabies outbreak has been declared in Sarawak since July 1, 2017, and this year alone, there have been two fatalities from the disease.
“Since the outbreaks in Sarawak, a total of 33 rabies cases have been reported, involving 31 deaths. The fatality rate of rabies is almost 100 per cent.
“Miri City Council has strict SOP (standard operating procedures) regarding the stray dogs removal operations. Stray dogs are darted with tranquilizer and then put down in a humane way.
“Miri City Council has time and again reminded dog owners to be truly loving and caring dog owners that they must license and vaccinate their dogs, and to keep their dogs within their own compound. This is to safeguard themselves and their family members and the general public just in case their dogs become infected while roaming around outside,” read the statement.
It added further that the council have been receiving numerous complaints from the public on stray dogs causing nuisance to the public, chasing the public, causing noise pollution and so on.
“All dogs roaming in public places are to be treated as stray dogs, regardless of whether they are licensed or vaccinated. This is to safeguard the general public,” MCC said.