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Fear of dog attacks rises in Ho Chi Minh City

Fear of dog attacks rises in Ho Chi Minh City

Monday, April 01, 2024, 14:51 GMT+7
Fear of dog attacks rises in Ho Chi Minh City
Two people transport a large, unleashed, and unmuzzled dog on their motorcycle in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: T.T.D. / Tuoi Tre

As the hotter months draw near, the number of people in Ho Chi Minh City seeking rabies vaccination and worrying about unsafe dog ownership practices is at an all-time high.

Anxiety about a rabies epidemic has been on the rise since 2023, with the annual number of people getting vaccinated against rabies 45 percent higher than the year before, according to the Ministry of Health.

Approximately 143,000 people have got vaccinated since the beginning of January, similar to the same period in 2023.

The Vietnam Vaccine JSC reports that rabies vaccinations and cases of people contracting rabies typically peak during the hotter months of the year.

While there are numerous valid reasons for owning a pet, the manner in which one exercises their ownership and the choice of pet they acquire present distinct considerations.

In an urban environment ill-suited for their natural habitat, owners of dogs and cats must assume greater responsibilities, including effectively managing their behavior and ensuring they receive proper vaccination, for the benefit of both themselves and their fellow citizens.

New regulations for pet ownership in the offing

In a country like Vietnam, where the number of motorcycles is far higher than that of cars, an out-of-control dog running into traffic can be a hazard to more than just itself.

Yet, people transporting their pet dogs, oftentimes unmuzzled and unleashed, on their motorcycles without any type of proper carriers causes unnecessary anxiety for fellow traffic-goers and is dangerously commonplace in Ho Chi Minh City.

A few days ago, the Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee received a proposal from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on the establishment of registration and chipping procedures for the city's dog and cat populations.

In particular, pet owners would be required to register their pets’ origin, breed, vaccination status, and more.

Such details would then be used by city authorities to solve long-standing pet-related issues such as noise, defecation, and others.

Public reception, especially from pet owners themselves, of these upcoming regulations seems to be mainly positive, according to feedback pooled by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

Another issue that may hopefully be addressed through the implementation of appropriate registration processes is the unlicensed breeding and distribution of large and potentially dangerous foreign dog breeds by those seeking to profit quickly from pet ownership.

Dog catching teams should return

It is hard for pedestrians not to feel uneasy seeing a dog on the street with three no’s: no muzzle, no leash, and possibly, no vaccination.

That is why residents of Ho Chi Minh City are urging local authorities to bring back professionally trained and equipped teams of dog catchers who would patrol different areas of the city in order to capture stray canines.

In November 2023, the deployment of dog-catching teams commenced as a response to the escalating incidents of dog attacks during that period.

Results were positive, and the idea quickly spread to other cities and towns, but the teams were not in operation for long.

When educational messages and simple warnings are not enough, citizens hope that the city will take stronger measures in the form of dog catching teams and strict regulations.

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Hanh Chu - Duc Tuan - Le Thach / Tuoi Tre News

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