High Rate Of Dog Bites Worry Residents


Mr. Nanven Barko, the Commissioner for Agriculture in Plateau, has decried the high incidence of dog bites in the state, saying measures are in place to reverse the trend.

Barko made the remarks during a mass anti-rabies awareness and vaccination campaign organised by Dr Onyeka Nelson, a serving youth corps member in Jos.

“The reference to Plateau as having the highest rate of dog bites in the country is not acceptable; we will expand this mass vaccination programme of the youth corps member even to the rural areas.

“The aim is to ensure that we cover the entire state so that even when dogs bite, they will not be harmful to our citizens; by this, we will reduce cases of rabies,” he said.

Barko said that all the state’s veterinary clinics would be overhauled to make them responsive to victims of dog bites.

The commissioner, however, challenged the public to pay attention to the health of their dogs either as pets for hunting or for security purposes.

“It is not too much to spend N500 to ensure the health of your dog; people should know that they are indirectly safeguarding their own health by keeping their pets healthy.”

In his remark, Nelson noted the rate of dog bites was high because dog was a delicacy in the state.

“Several indigenes and tribes eat dog in Plateau. So, because the custom sees eating dogs as delicacy, most indigenes breed dogs for the purpose of consumption,” he said.

“Dog business is a very big commercial venture in Plateau. In fact, the largest dog market in West Africa is located in Kanke Local Government Area.

“Dog eating zones from the country and beyond come to the market every Thursday to buy dogs for meat. Akwa Ibom and Cross River people even come with palm oil in exchange for dogs,” Nelson said.

He, however, warned against keeping dogs without vaccination and advised that dogs should be vaccinated at least once every year to safeguard the public health.

“If a human being bitten by a dog that is carrying rabies virus is left untreated, rabies might thrive and there is no cure for rabies. Rabies kills, but it is 100 per cent preventable.

“Also, if a dog carrying the virus (rabies) bites an uninfected dog, the rabies is transmitted to that dog and this way, the disease continues to spread,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nelson vaccinated about 1,000 dogs with vaccines worth N450,000 during the campaign which he sponsored.

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