Unvaccinated pets may lead to legal action

2012-06-25 00:00

VACCINATE your pets or face legal action.

That was the stern warning to pet owners from the Department of Agriculture and Environmental Affairs yesterday.

Spokesperson Jeffrey Zikhali said the rabies situation was being treated as an emergency, and the department was intensifying its campaign to have all animals vaccinated against rabies.

“We do not want any more lives lost because of the disease, hence we will send teams across the province to check that every animal has been vaccinated. Failing which, you will face legal action,” he said.

The government also has the legal right to confiscate those pets that have not been vaccinated, he said.

Sinethemba Luyanda Hlongwane (8) from Maswazini in Bergville, died after an infected family dog bit him, Clementia Cele (52) from Ngonyameni also died after she was bitten by a rabid dog, and Graeme Anderson from Underberg, died after several weeks in hospital after caring for an infected dog.

A four-year-old boy is still in a critical, but stable condition, in a government hospital outside Durban.

He was admitted at the beginning of May, showing signs of rabies after a dog bit him at Ngonyameni.

Zikhali said the tests conducted on the boy’s saliva and his spinal fluid, as well as a skin biopsy, all came back negative for rabies.

The department planned to dig up the dog and run tests to determine whether it was infected.

• thamsanqam@witness.co.za

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