The District Livestock Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Food Security (MAFFS) in Kenema District Ibrahim Harri Sesay has stated that there has been an increase in the number of reported dog bites in Kenema District in the last three months.
Sesay disclosed that the Livestock Department attached to the MAFFS has recorded over 70 cases of dog bites since September 2010 to date.
He revealed during an interview that Kenema District being the reservoir for the virus that causes rabies, should regularize the vaccination of dogs, cats and other pets that are close to mankind as a means of controlling the flow of the virus from spreading.
The Livestock Officer expressed dismay over the growing number of street dogs that are now wrecking havoc in most parts of the district especially in Kenema city where he admitted much has not been done to curtail the flow of street dogs – a situation which he described as worrisome.
Ibrahim Harri Sesay also said he took over the office in Kenema on 2nd September 2010 and he met a lot of cases of dog bites on his table which is a serious concern to all adding that plans are now on the way to ensure the vaccination of some 2,000 dogs within the city.
He said rabies is a communicable disease and that dogs are carriers of the virus. He disclosed that around 10th September 2010 his office contacted the Sierra Leone Animal Welfare Society (SLAWS) in Freetown in order to come to their aid to undertake a vaccination exercise in some parts of the country. SLAWS contacted an organization abroad which came to the aid of the Ministry and under took a vaccination exercise that took place in Kenema city on the 25th and 26th September 2010 targeting 5,000 dogs with the aim of minimizing the occurrence of the disease in the city, but they were able to vaccinate only about 1,505 dogs.
Yet still the occurrence of dog bite is still on the increase. He said from September 2010 to January 2011 about 80 cases of dog bites have been reported to his office. He explained an incident of dog bite at Dodo Chiefdom in the Kenema District wherein a dog bit four people and they all died.
He says this time round they want to cover the 16 Chiefdoms in the Kenema District and called on residents of Kenema District to be careful when dealing with dogs and other domestic animals that are living with them and at the same time encouraged all to report cases of dog bites to the Livestock Officer for immediate attention.
By Saffa Moriba