Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Correspondent
BULAWAYO City Council (BCC) has said it is concerned with the high cases of dog bites which are exposing residents to rabies as some of the dogs are not vaccinated.
Last month, the municipality recorded 26 dog bites incidents with 12 people being vaccinated against rabies.
Responding to questions from The Chronicle, BCC’s senior public relations officer Mrs Nesisa Mpofu said most dog owners were failing to take care of their pets.
“A significant number of dog owners are failing to take good care of their dogs hence the dogs stray out of the premises. In other instances, there are people who want to own dogs but their premises are not secure leading to dogs straying outside where they harass people passing by,” said Mrs Mpofu.
She said council was encouraging residents who are attacked by dogs to get anti-rabies vaccination.
Mrs Mpofu said some dogs had positively tested for rabies.
“Cases of rabies-positive dogs in the city and peri-urban areas around the city have been recorded in the last two years. The Department of Veterinary Services is however better placed to give a comprehensive picture of the situation since they are charged with the surveillance of zoonotic diseases,” said Mrs Mpofu.
She said to curb the problem, council will continue educating dog owners on the importance of abiding by the city’s by-laws.
Mrs Mpofu also said stray dogs would be shot.
“The shooting of stray dogs has been satisfactory as it helps in the reduction of the stray dog population in the city. In the last year programme, 582 stray dogs were put down. Dog owners are being educated to keep their dogs within secure premises and to also vaccinate the dogs as is required in terms of the Bulawayo (Dog Licensing and Control) Bylaws,” she said.
In January, a woman from New Lobengula suburb nearly died after she was mauled by four ferocious Boerboel dogs, forcing the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) to kill one of them and confiscate another, leaving the owner with only two.