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AVA: The dogs are a danger

Buangkok resident Shaik Yusof was on his way to work at 5.30am when he noticed a dog following him.

He stamped his foot and the dog went away. But to his horror, a pack of about nine dogs started following him.

The 39-year-old safety coordinator said: "It's the first time I have been chased by dogs and the first thought that came to my mind was that I could get bitten."

The father of two children, aged nine and 10, added: "I've seen the dogs loitering, waiting for food. I'm worried about my children's safety."

Another resident, Madam Connie Contreras, 44, an accountant, has seen the dogs chasing children on their bicycles.

The mother of three said: "I'm constantly worried because I don't know when they will attack."

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) brought up these examples to explain why it was taking action on the stray dog population in Buangkok.

Its spokesman said: "Concerned parents have expressed worries over the safety of their children.

"To ensure public safety, AVA has to act on such feedback and conduct surveillance and control operations to round up stray dogs."

And, the spokesman added, although rabies has not been reported here for 60 years, the disease is still endemic in the region.

The fatal disease can be transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected animal.

SPREAD OF DISEASE

"In the event of a rabies incursion, stray dog populations can act as a reservoir for the spread of the disease to humans and other animals, including wildlife," she said.

"The number of strays in the environment must be managed as free-roaming strays can facilitate the spread of rabies, as well as hamper disease control and eradication."

AVA said it works closely with animal welfare groups to rehome impounded dogs.

Since May, 10 of the 14 dogs that were impounded in the Buangkok area have been rehomed.

The remaining four were put down.