War against rabies: Owner of any dog that bites residents’ll go to jail, Osun Govt warns

Uba Group

BY TIMOTHY AGBOR, OSOGBO                     

OSUN State Government has commenced free vaccination of domestic animals in a bid to get rid of the rabies virus across the state.

Rabies is a deadly virus spread to people from the saliva of infected animals. One could also be infected through insects bites or stings.

Animals most likely to spread rabies include dogs, bats, coyotes, foxes, skunks and raccoons, according to the latest study.

Symptoms of rabies include fever, headache, excess salivation, muscle spasms, paralysis and mental confusion.

To ensure that residents of the state are rabies-free, pet owners have been directed to take their pets for vaccination against the virus.

The State Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security, Adedayo Adewole, gave the directive in his keynote address to flag off the 2021 free anti-rabies programme in Osogbo, on Thursday.

While expressing the desire of the present administration to rid the state of rabbies infected pets, the state government threatened to prosecute and jail any residents whose pets bite people while roaming the streets.

He commended the Federal Government for giving the state 3,500 doses of anti-rabies vaccines and expressed concern over the rising cases of rabies in Nigeria.

Adewole, however, stressed that Osun would not leave any stone unturned in providing funds for the procurement of more drugs to fight the menace of rabies throughout the state.

He added that veterinary doctors, as a matter of duty, would, henceforth, be moving round the state, especially the rural areas, for the next four weeks to get pets such as dogs, cats, monkeys and bats, among others, vaccinated, free of charge.

Adewole therefore charged pet owners, especially dogs, to take advantage of the situation by taking them to the nearby veterinary clinics for routine vaccination.

In his goodwill message, the Director of Veterinary and Pest Control Services, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Olaniran Alabi, disclosed that through mass vaccination and enlightenment campaigns, the scourge of rabies would become minimal in Nigeria.

He particularly noted that dogs accounted for 99 per cent of human deaths arising from the incidents of rabies attack.

Alabi, who was represented by Mathias Bisong, described rabies as one of the priority transboundary animal diseases, which had remained endemic in the country since it was first reported in 1912.

He highlighted that some of the constraints in the control of the disease in Nigeria emerged because majority of dogs were not only unlicensed and unvaccinated, but also allowed to roam freely in the communities.

Earlier in her welcome address, the Director, Veterinary Services in the state Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Abosede Olatokun, charged dog owners to desist from allowing them to stray around without vaccination, stressing that the owner of any dog that bites a person would be prosecuted and jailed.

During the programme, all the dogs that were brought to the venue got vaccinated, free of charge.