A petition to stop the Penang government’s decision to cull stray dogs following two cases of rabies has been set up in a bid to save the canines.
At press time, over 4,000 signatures have been gathered on www.ipetitions.com, calling on Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng to reverse the call which was made on Thursday.
“Instead of attempting to rectify the situation and coming up with solutions, Lim Guan Eng has described the killing of stray dogs in Penang as a ‘micro’ problem.
“The Malaysian (Chief) minister has also warned that pets who are outside of private property risk being caught and put to sleep as well,” said the petition’s founder, which was not named on the website.
The petition also demanded Lim reconsider his actions and come up with a “sane” solution to the problem.
“Is the answer to kill every single dog every single time someone gets infected with rabies?
“What about the dogs who are not infected who will be murdered in cold blood for no good reason at all? Should these dogs die in vain when there is a vaccination easily available that prevents rabies? (SIC)” the petitioner asked.
The petition also cited the World Health Organisation (WHO), which stated that rabies was a vaccine-preventable viral disease which occurred in more than 150 countries and territories and could be eliminated by vaccinating dogs.
It added that WHO said vaccinating dogs was the most cost-effective strategy for preventing rabies from being spread among people.
Bats, raccoons, foxes, jackals, cats and mongooses, it said, were also prone to contracting the disease.
“If all mammals are possible rabies carriers, are we going to let Lim Guan Eng kill every single animal until he is convinced that Malaysia is rabies-free?”
Animal lovers and non-governmental organisations in Penang earlier today banded together to show solidarity for dogs to protest the move.
More than 100 individuals, comprising animal rights activists and non-governmental organisations, flocked to the mezzanine area outside the state government office to show their protest, carrying placards and banners.
Some of the animal lovers were also seen breaking down in tears over the state government’s decision.