Penang to implement 'zero stray' programme

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang Island City Council is in the process of implementing a “zero stray” programme to reduce the risk of disease spread by stray dogs.

Mayor Datuk Maimunah Mohd Sharif said the programme will involve the capture, neuter and release of strays.

She said the Council will be catching strays before sending them to be neutered and thereafter released.

Maimunah said this was an effort to mitigate the potential of diseases like rabies being spread by strays.

She said the programme would be conducted in collaboration with the international animal NGO IAPWA (International Aid for the Protection and Welfare of Animals).

“A memorandum of understanding (MOU) will be signed with IAPWA soon,” she said in a press conference yesterday after chairing a council meeting.

Elaborating further, Council Environmental Health and Licensing Director Dr RR Judy Shoba said the cost for neutering and vaccinations will be borne by IAPWA.

She said the council will only be involved in the capture and holding of strays which were caught.

“The cost to us is small, we will have to create the teams to catch the strays and to prepare a place to hold those which are caught,” she said when asked.

Judy said the Council was now in the process of fine tuning the agreement which will take another day or two.

“We will send it to IAPWA and once they agree we can sign sometime in August,” she said when asked when the MOU will be signed.

Earlier during the meeting, Maimunah in her maiden mayoral speech said the Council will continue its park creation efforts in line with achieving the “Garden in a City” status by 2020.

She said the Council will be creating five neighbourhood parks - Jalan Kampung Pisang, Lebuhraya Maktab, Cangkat Minden, Jalan Nibong and Lorong Pondek Upeh - by this year.

She said three pocket parks - Jalan Cengai, Jalan Chan Siew Teong and Taman Air Raja - will also be created in the three areas this year.

“The effort is in line with creating public spaces for ratepayers as well as to reduce the ‘urban heat island’ phenomenon,” she added.