By Chew Lip Song
THE dog that bit a child at the Salim-Stabau area in Sibu on Thursday, in a case that has heightened fears of rabies making a comeback in Sarawak, was in fact a family pet.
Sibu Rural District Council (SRDC) chairman Sempurai Petrus Ngelai told The Borneo Post this was confirmed by its Public Health and Environmental Department officer Mathew Paran .
“The child has been admitted to the hospital as informed by the council’s public health and environmental officer Mr Mathew,” he said.
Sempurai pointed out that SRDC has repeatedly advised pet owners to take precautions including confining their dogs within their house compound.
He added that that SRDC’s dog unit carried out an operation at the area where the child was bitten and a number of strays were caught.
Sempurai assured that the operation to remove stray dogs is ongoing, adding that it was a joint effort between SRDC, SMC’s dog unit and other local authorities like the Kanowit District Council as well as other nearby councils.
“Our dog unit has already come up with the operation lists based on zones and reports of the stray dogs. To be honest, it is not an easy task for the council’s dog unit as sometimes you will face difficulties in differentiating strays and people’s pets.
“As such, I once again urge members of the public to be responsible pet owners by looking after them and confining them within their house compound or cages. We all know that there is a rabies case nearby SRDC’s boundary. As such, everyone’s cooperation is very much needed at this moment,” he said.
Last month, a five-year-old girl was attacked and bitten by a stray dog in Jalan Sentosa.
Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a recent statement that the bite wounds were not washed with clean water and soap immediately after the incident.
The Health Ministry confirmed that the girl’s death on March 26 was due to rabies.