——-About 80 stray dogs have been shot dead in selected parts of Mazabuka Township following the outbreak of rabies that has so far claimed four lives.
However, some affected Mazabuka residents have criticized and condemned the manner in which authorities are carrying out the shooting exercise, saying the officers involved are too overzealous.
Mazabuka District Commissioner, Eugene Munyama, told ZANIS in an interview that about 80 dogs that were not found to be secure during the time of the exercise were shot dead.
Mr Munyama said a combined team of officers from Zambia Police, Veterinary Department, Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) and the council embarked on the exercise aimed at getting rid of stray dogs in most compounds of Mazabuka Township.
The DC, who is Chairperson for the Mazabuka District Epidemic Preparedness Committee, said the move to eliminate stray dogs in the area was arrived at following results from the laboratory in Lusaka indicating that some dogs were infected with rabies.
He stated that his committee resolved to shoot down stray dogs and those that were found not to have been vaccinated against rabies in order to combat the increase in the number of people that were getting beaten by dogs.
Mr Munyama said the exercise to crop the dogs was also aimed at reducing the rising population of pets in the township as well as to ensure that households only maintained a maximum number of two dogs per household as required by law.
The shooting exercise was carried out in various compounds of Mazabuka townships that included Kabbobola, Nakambala, Apollo and Ndeke among others.
However, the exercise has been received with mixed feelings among residents of who described the officers involved as being overzealous.
The affected residents separately told ZANIS in interviews that the team was not objective in their conduct because they even reached an extent of entering people’s yards and shooting dogs that where found chained.
Raymond Hamusonde, a resident of Kabbobola Compound, complained that there was so much excitement on the part of the officers carrying out the exercise, adding that there was no way they could shoot within people’s premises, a move he said was putting the lives of the people living in the same houses at risk.
Mr Hamusonde said despite the awareness to the public that the authorities would only shoot down the dogs that were not secured, the team went beyond their limits and ended up divulging people’s privacy by trespassing in their houses.
He has since appealed for soberness among those that are involved in the exercise which he said is welcome as it will help in combating the spread of rabies in the town.