Sun, 06 Jul 2003

City's attempts to deal with strays

There are no numbers on how many stray animals are living on Jakarta's streets, but stray dogs are picked up to be observed for signs of rabies.

Last year, 208 dogs were picked up off the streets from all five municipalities of Jakarta, said Dr. Naniek Susatijoharti, who is the section head for Research, Prevention and Eradication of Animal Diseases at the subagency for Animal Health and Veterinary Medicine under the Agency for Animal Husbandry and Fisheries.

The strays are brought to the Animal Health Clinic in Ragunan, South Jakarta, and kept under observation for three days to see if the animal shows any symptoms of rabies.

If the owner does not claim the dog within those three days, and if no one adopts it, the dog is euthanized.

The city rounds up dogs, but not cats, Dr. Naniek said.

Anyone wishing to adopt a dog should go to the observation area of the Laboratory for the Health of Animals and Fish on Jl. Harsono RM No. 28, Ragunan, Pasar Minggu (tel. 780-5445). Adopted dogs are vaccinated against rabies for free, but a small fee is charged for the time the animal was kept there.

Dogs can get additional vaccinations next door from the Animal Health Clinic.

Naniek explained the city has in place an ongoing program for vaccinating dogs in the city, in which they have a schedule for each area they visit on a rotating basis. Officers coordinate with the subdistrict head in the area in going door-to-door to vaccinate pet dogs.

Although there have been no new cases of rabies over the past seven years, the Ministry of Health has not declared Jakarta rabies-free, and the city is hoping that this is the year the capital will have eradicated the disease, Dr. Naniek said.

Anyone wishing to have their pet dog vaccinated against rabies for free can call the Animal Husbandry Section (Suku Dinas Perternakan) office in their municipality and find out when someone can come to their area.

In South Jakarta, the number to call is 720-6147, while in East Jakarta it is 480-8333, in Central Jakarta it is 386-6643, in West Jakarta call 568-0732, and those in North Jakarta can call 430-8876. -- Maria Kegel