Sabah's local authority offers cash for stray dogs and live rats

KOTA KINABALU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The local authority in Sabah's Labuan is offering RM30 (S$9.50) for every stray dog and RM5 for a rat caught this month in a bid to rid the territory of pests.

According to flyers and posters by the Labuan Corporation and the state Health Department, such a move is necessary in the light of diseases like rabies, which are transmitted by animals.

While the posters list rules that those wanting to catch the strays must follow the Animal Welfare Act, the offer is already rankling some animal groups.

Among the rules are that only humane capturing methods must be used and no one is allowed to hurt, abuse or carry out any offence under the Act.

The methods are also limited and subjected to standard operating procedures set down by the authorities.

Stray dogs caught must be alive, not wearing a collar or owned by anyone. Even rats must be alive when handed over to the authorities for payment.

An animal welfare group said it was afraid that unscrupulous people might abuse the move and harm the animals.