Hanoi district dog squads to nip rabies in the bud

By Tat Dinh   October 4, 2020 | 11:04 pm PT
Hanoi district dog squads to nip rabies in the bud
An unattended, unmuzzled dog is caught in a cage in Ba Dinh District, Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Minh Hai.
Ba Dinh District in Hanoi has deployed 14 squads to catch stray dogs to prevent the spread of rabies, according to the local veterinary station.

The squads, totaling around 100 members and operative in different wards, have been rounding up stray dogs since mid-September as per the Ba Dinh People’s Committee initiative to create rabies safe zones.

Each squad includes militia, police officers, medical personnel and veterinarians, all trained in rabies prevention and animal control.

"Our main goal is persuading residents to keep their dogs and cats from roaming unattended to ensure community safety. We don’t focus on solely catching dogs to fine people," said a representative of the Ba Dinh veterinary station. So far, five stray dogs have been seized and three pet owners fined VND4.5 million ($194).

Captured dogs would be taken to local People’s Committees. After 48 hours, failing retrieval, they would be handed over to either Hanoi Animal Center or the Vietnam National University of Agriculture.

Ba Dinh is the second district in the capital to form dog-catching squads for rabies prevention, Thanh Xuan having already done so since late 2018.

A decree, enacted in 2017 and amended in 2020, requires dogs to be muzzled, chained and attended to by their owners in public. Violations attract fines of VND1-2 million. Several cities have since hired animal control personnel, including Hanoi and Saigon.

The capital is also gathering opinions on the management of walking streets near the Hoan Kiem Lake and surrounding areas, which includes banning people from either walking their pets on a leash or letting them free.

Rabies killed 54 people in Vietnam last year, according to the Ministry of Health.

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