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24.10.2008 General News

Ministry To Destroy All Stray Dogs

By Salifu Abdul-Rahaman & Samuel Nuamah -

ALL unlicensed stray dogs are to be confiscated and destroyed, Ernest Debrah, Minister of Food and Agriculture, has announced.

He told parliament yesterday that the move was to check the spread of rabies.  Dogs transmit the virus to humans and its leads to death within 48 hours.

The Minister was responding to an urgent question posed by Dr. Alhassan Ahmed Yakubu (NDC-Mion),  Minority spokesman on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs.

Mr Debrah said there had been an increase in the case of rabies in humans in some parts of the country resulting in fatalities.

He said the ministry, through the Veterinary Services, had procured vaccines which it is giving out at the cost of GH¢2 per dog.

Mr Debrah said pet owners' apathy to vaccination of the animals, even for free, and the incidence of stray dogs had inhibited efforts at checking the spread of rabies.

To address the problem, Mr Debrah said the ministry was liaising with metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies to enforce the bye laws on pets, adding that its officials would also conduct house-to-house inspections and confiscate pets not vaccinated by their owners.

On whether the Ministry would consider revisiting cyclical vaccination, Mr  Debrah said there was the need to look at the cost implication before a decision was made, adding that the vaccination of a pet at GH¢2 per year was affordable enough to encourage pet owners to patronise it.

In an answer to another question on the outbreak of the Anthrax disease among livestock in the Northern Region. Mr Debrah said that vaccine against Antrax was produced locally at the Central Veterinary Laboratory at Pong-Tamale in the Northern Region and was available in the country all year round.

He said the ministry had put a plan in place to vaccinate all susceptible animals just before the rains set in next year.