KOTA KINABALU: The Kota Kinabalu City Hall together with animal lovers and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have agreed on several proposals to better tackle the issue of stray dogs around the city.
According to a statement from the KK City Hall website, these include short- and long-term solutions.
The short-term solutions include holding awareness campaigns and operations to license pets, hold dog adoption campaigns and to have the City Hall work with NGOs for adoption and treatment of injured or ill strays.
They also include conducting workshops to educate the public, especially pet owners on care and welfare of dogs, as well as have integrated collaborations to vaccinate and neuter strays.
Issues on allowing designated areas will also be discussed for stray feeders around the city for the purpose of safety and cleanliness, said the statement.
As for long-term solutions, a population study will be conducted to measure the effectiveness of stray control efforts and to determine the number of strays allowed at a certain area.
All by-laws relating to the registration and control of strays, pet management policies, licensing, use of microchips and considering the appointment of veterinary officials on contract basis, or via private clinics, will also be looked into.
This meeting held on June 14, and subsequent agreement to these proposals were made following recent controversies on the current stray management strategies taken by dog catchers in the City Hall, whereby a “put to sleep” measure would be implemented for unclaimed dogs within a short period of time.
The meeting was attended by among others the Mayor Datuk Noorliza Awang Alip, vets, management corporations, representatives of villages and residential areas, as well as dog lovers and representatives of NGOs.
Previously, there was a close collaboration between City Hall and NGOs as well as dog lovers to trap and neuter strays before releasing them to where they were found.
According to dog lovers and NGOs that were part of this programme, this method has been quite effective in controlling the population of strays but it is unclear why the initiative was stopped.
However, there has been an increase in complaints from the public, claiming that more strays are roaming in housing areas or shoplots, causing nuisance to the public with dogs scavenging for food in rubbish bins and some even barking or chasing after people.