Anambra State Government in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has flagged off free anti-rabies vaccination of dogs and cats across the state.
Performing the ceremony in Awka, the State Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr Foster Ihejiofor said the campaign is part of the global commitment to eliminate rabies deaths from dogs and cats.
He added that the state considered it necessary to join in the campaign to mitigate deaths arising from rabies, even as he urged dog owners to take advantage of the exercise to vaccinate their dogs.
While describing rabies as highly infectious, he warned that henceforth any human death from rabies infected dog bite, owners of such dog must face murder case prosecution in court.
In a welcome address, the Director, Veterinary Services of the Ministry, Dr. Basil Ideh said the essence of the event was not only to create awareness of the devastating effect of rabies virus on public health but to educate the public on their roles in the fight to eradicate it.
“This is the reason governments and veterinarians across the globe engage the public annually in campaigns like this to educate them on the importance of anti rabies vaccination of their animals in mitigating the spread of the the virus. The truth is that rabies is virtually 100 percent fatal once clinical symptoms appear”.
He advised owners of dogs and cats as well as dog breeders in the state to bring out their animals for vaccination.
“The exercise will continue statewide in the 21 Local Government Areas at designated vaccination centres in various towns and villages for five working days beginning from 27th September and ending 5th October 2022″.
While urging dog owners to contact Veterinary Officers in local government areas nearest to them, he reminded the public that vaccination remained free
He warned that all stray dogs not vaccinated would be destroyed after the exercise.