CHIANG RAI – Residents of a third village in Chiang Rai’s Mae Fah Lung district where rabies has been detected, voted to keep and detain their pet dogs and cats instead of handing them over to livestock officials to be culled.
Villagers of Ban Lise village in Tambon Mae Fah Luang of Mae Fah Luang district voted on Friday against handling over their pets to Mae Fah Lung livestock officials to be “handled” in accordance with rabies control procedure.
Ban Lise became the third village in Tambon Mae Fah Luang where rabies has been detected. A dog, which died, tested positive for rabies.
Last month, Mae Fah Luang livestocks officials took away more than 200 dogs and cats from Ban Mae Salaeb and Ban Jalor villages to be culled, prompting animal rights groups to threaten to invoke the anti-animal-cruelty law to sue the officials.
Ban Jalor residents claimed that officials had forced them to part with their pets while the Livestock Department chief claimed that the cull were mercy killings as animals with rabies could not be cured.
Anusorn Rat-ananpinij, the chief livestock officer for Mae Fah Luang district, said the stray dog that died of rabies had not shown any symptoms of the disease and it was not known how it had contracted the disease.
Anusorn said since the villagers had voted to detain and monitor their own pets, his office issued a rabies control announcement in the village, banning transport of pets from the village for six months.
During the six-month period, pet dogs and cats must be kept in cages. Anusorn said villagers were allowed to use makeshift cases while building or buying permanent ones.
Rabies virus can spread not only in hot season, but also in rainy season.