Necessary measures must be taken to control stray population

By Aziz Idris

Animal shelters receive public donations to fund operations as the government does not provide monetary aid to care for stray cats and dogs.

This was highlighted by Minister of Home Affairs Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar bin Haji Apong in response to queries regarding the growing number of strays in the country.

At the 17th Legislative Council (LegCo) session yesterday, LegCo members Yang Berhormat Haji Ramli bin Haji Lahit and Yang Berhormat Pengiran Haji Mohamed bin Pengiran Haji Osman @ Othman ecohed suggestions for greater transparency in the handling and care for these animals.

The minister in response expressed gratitude to local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) who on their own time and expense, funds the spaying, vaccinating and extra medical expenses in caring for these strays.

He said the Ministry of Home Affairs, through the District Office and Municipal Board, has provided a site in Sungkai Akar to shelter homeless dogs. All stray and wild dogs caught by local NGOs will be placed at the site. About 500 stray dogs are currently housed at the shelter.

Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar said the issue of wild and stray dogs is a serious one, as it poses a danger to the public.

Authorities will only be deployed to hotspot areas or when a high number of stray dogs cause safety concerns.

He reminded dog owners to register their pets at the beginning of every year, and failure to do so will result in punishment.

Unregistered canine pet is an offence under Section 4, Chapter 60 of the Dogs Act. An owner found guilty can be fined BND250 or face 14 days imprisonment for the first offence. Subsequent offences can lead to a fine of BND500 or one month imprisonment.

Earlier on, Yang Berhormat Haji Ramli suggested that the authorities, with help from NGOs, raise awareness on stray and feral animals to help end animal cruelty, animal overpopulation while advocating better animal treatment.

“The number (of stray dogs) keeps growing every day. We need to take necessary measures to control the stray population before it gets worse,” he added.

Meanwhile, LegCo Speaker Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Lela Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abdul Rahman bin Dato Setia Haji Mohamed Taib suggested that rescued dogs be trained to be guardians at agricultural areas or farm lands, keeping away pests such as monkeys.