The Health Ministry is recommending that a zero stray dog policy be implemented at all rabies gazetted areas in efforts to control the disease from spreading.
Its deputy minister, Dr Lee Boon Chye said by implementing the policy it did not mean that the ministry encouraged the killing of wild dogs as there were procedures to be followed.
“We want to make sure that the owners take care of their dogs and do not let them roam around. If no one is taking care of the dogs, there must be an NGO to adopt them, failing which, the dogs will be put to sleep.
“The responsibility of the Health Ministry is to provide medical treatment and control the spread of rabies. As for control of the animal, this is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Veterinary Services,” he told a press conference here today.
According to Dr Lee, rabies is a serious disease and the fatality rate for rabies is almost always 100 per cent.
“Dog owners should take responsibility by ensuring that their dogs do not run wild, are under control and vaccinated. In the case of stray dogs, an NGO should take care of the welfare of the dogs,” he said.
He said should there be concern that a dog has been infected with rabies, it must be monitored for two weeks.
“If after two weeks there are no signs of rabies infection, the NGO may continue taking care of the dog and get it vaccinated once a year, ” he said.
Asked whether the policy should be implemented in areas where wild dogs were found, he said it was up to the Veterinary Services Department and the local authorities to decide.
“Developed countries such as the Netherlands, Japan and Singapore have implemented this policy and as a result we seldom see dogs roaming around in these countries,” he said.