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Masvingo City Council Launches Mandatory Dog Vaccinations After Averaging 5 Dog Bites Monthly

Masvingo City Council, in collaboration with the veterinary service department, has initiated a compulsory dog vaccination campaign, focusing primarily on the Rujeko suburb. This decisive action follows a disturbing incident in February where a rabid pitbull attacked five people in the area, prompting urgent measures to contain the potential spread of rabies.

The confirmation of these efforts came from Masvingo City’s Acting Director of Health, Housing, and Environmental Services, Sithabile Matava. Matava explained that after receiving a report about the pitbull attack, the dog was tested for rabies, and the results confirmed the presence of the deadly virus. Concerns arose about the possibility of other dogs being infected before the rabid dog’s demise at the hands of residents who acted out of fear and self-defense.

“On 19 February, we received a report of a pit bull that had attacked five people in Rujeko Suburb. We dispatched a team to Rujeko, and after confirming the rabies diagnosis from samples taken from the dead dog, we launched a centralized vaccination program in Rujeko,” Matava stated.

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The vaccination drive kicked off with a mass vaccination event on March 6, during which 169 dogs were vaccinated. The council is also rounding up roaming dogs in the area to prevent further transmission of rabies.

Looking ahead, Matava outlined plans to extend the vaccination campaign citywide in April, strategically scheduling it during school holidays for maximum participation. Masvingo City Council aims to vaccinate all dogs in the city and enforce regulations outlined in a new bylaw governing dog ownership and population control.

“We have learned from experience that holiday periods attract higher turnout for vaccination. We urge dog owners to ensure their pets are vaccinated and licensed. Additionally, we encourage the public to report any roaming dogs to the Masvingo City Health Department,” Matava emphasized.

The local authority’s proactive measures also include conducting a dog census to determine the city’s dog population, facilitating effective dog bite control measures in the future. These initiatives underscore Masvingo City Council’s commitment to public health and safety in the face of rabies threats.



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