Anambra State government has warned that dog owners who refuse to vaccinate their animals, risk being arrested for murder and the animals confiscated, if found to have bitten someone.
It advised owners of dogs in the State to take advantage of the ongoing free vaccination campaign to inoculate their animals to prevent bites related fatalities.
The state Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Forster Ihejiofor gave the advice on Tuesday while flagging off of 2022 free anti-rabies vaccination campaign in the state.
He said, “The federal and state governments are partnering to bring this intervention to the residents to prevent fatalities of bites from infected animals.
“The only cure for rabies is to prevent against it.
“The vaccination which will be administered free of charge will be carried out in the next five days across the local governments and communities in the state.
“Your only responsibility is to bring your animals to the vaccination venue as well as assist us spread the news so the state can become safe from possible menace of rabies.
“If someone ignores the call, there are consequences. The animals can be picked up and destroyed because it bit someone. The state is also at liberty to try you for murder.”
Earlier, the Director, Veterinary Services, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Basil Ideh disclosed that the state has taken delivery of 3,500 out of a total 4,100 doses of the vaccine allocated to the state for the exercise.
He called on dog owners and breeders to ensure they took care of their animals as prescribed in dog regulations/laws before the National Assembly.
“You must keep your dog safe and away from other strange dogs and cats, schedule regular medical check-ups, feed them well, vaccinate them annually against rabies and most importantly, not allowing them to stray and roam the streets scavenging for food,” he added.
On his part, Chairman, Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association, Anambra State chapter, Dr Ifeanyi Obiwulu described the theme of the 2022 world rabies celebration, “One health, zero death” as apt.
He urged residents to make their animals available for the vaccination and to seek counsel from professionals where they have issues.