All of us at the Canine Advisory Team  (CAT) of the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) had a great time with Yang Berhormat Dr Xavier A Jayakumar last week.

That was when CAT organised a special exercise to go down to the ground of residents' homes with the Selangor state executive councillor to check if they were looking after their dogs and cats properly as well as  keeping their homes dengue-free.

The event proved to be a thumping success. Quite a few of the residents hadn't an inkling that the main gentleman at their gate was actually a top brass representing Selangor for, among others, public health as well as a caring government.

Some of the most poignant moments were when Dr Xavier bowed down to pet a dog in a kennel and when he went close to a filthy drain to inspect it.

Here are the various reports by the media that covered the story for your reading pleasure;

The first was by Malaysiakini's Leven Woon who published the story on the same day (28 June, 2010) that the exercise was held: 

"10,318 cases of dengue were reported in Selangor since January with Kajang reporting the most cases, totalling 1,930.

Selangor state executive councillor Xavier Jayakumar, while officiating a dengue and dog inspection, said so far 32 people have died of dengue fever in the state.

While Kajang only recorded one fatality, Shah Alam and Subang Jaya both reported six deaths whereas three died of the fever in Petaling Jaya.

“The clusters will normally spread in the early and end quarters of a year. (The cases) will then reach a mod high every two years,” Xavier said before leading the inspection team in Section 4, Petaling Jaya today.

He said uncollected rubbish and abandoned projects are the main contributors to the high number of cases.

During the inspections at Jalan 4/43 and Jalan 4/46, Xavier singled out wooden premises that were prime breeding grounds for the dengue-carrying aedes mosquitoes. Their grounds were strewn with litter in plastic bags, he noted, which should not have been allowed in the first place.

The team also went from door to door, visiting dog owners, examining licenses and checking on the well-being of the dogs.

MBPJ councilor and Petpositive NGO chairman Anthony Thanasayan said that there were dog owners who were ignorant about their pets’ nutritional needs including what to feed them as well as how often.

“Hence, today our aim is not just to knock on their doors and fine them. More importantly, we want to educate them on the ways to improve the (quality) of (the animals’ care).”

Anthony said that the council’s staff, including the Canine Advisory Team (CAT), were also given training on proper animal handling,

Also present were health officials from Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) and Klang Municipal Council (MPK).

Anthony said similar inspections would be done in those municipalities soon.

He meanwhile reiterated his stand to increase the fine for animal cruelty from the current RM200 to RM10,000.

“I know the Department of Veterinary Services is on track in seeking an increase, but I suggest perhaps MBPJ can do it faster.”

Streets, New Straits Times by Sheila Sri Priya on 29th June:

32 dengue deaths in Selangor as of June
 Dr Xavier Jayakumar visiting a house in Section 4 Petaling Jaya The objective of the visits were to check if residents have licences for their dogs and to spot dengue breeding ground in their homes. — Picture by Saifullizan Tamadi

Dr Xavier Jayakumar visiting a house in Section 4 Petaling Jaya The objective of the visits were to check if residents have licences for their dogs and to spot dengue breeding ground in their homes. — Picture by Saifullizan Tamadi

PETALING JAYA: Thirty-two deaths due to dengue were recorded up to early June this year for Selangor.

State executive councillor for Health, Plantation Workers, Poverty and Caring Government Dr Xavier Jayakumar said these were from the 332 confirmed dengue cases and majority of them were in the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council areas where there were 55 cases and two deaths.

This was followed by areas within the Shah Alam City Council with 29 cases and six deaths, Subang Jaya Municipal Council (26 cases and six deaths), Petaling Jaya City Council (14 cases and three deaths) and Kajang Municipal Council (11 cases and one death).

Xavier said every once in two years there would be a major dengue breakout and the peak would be during the first and last quarter of the year.

He added dengue was no longer a problem associated with the rural areas, as more and more cases were recorded in urban areas with high density population, uncollected rubbish and abandoned projects.

He also said there was an increase in the number of mosquito breeding grounds, especially when house owners did not check their surroundings and made sure they were clean.

Xavier said the public between the ages of 18 and 45 were more exposed to dengue because this age group move around frequently to go to colleges or work.

He said to effectively combat dengue, the public needed to work hand in hand with the authorities.

He added that both the Health Ministry and the state government had increased staff to curb the scourge.

"For example the Petaling Jaya City Council has 14 new health officers.

"Areas such as Subang Jaya has a young population who are constantly on the move and the cause of the problem may not necessarily be in their neighbourhood but they could have got dengue at their workplace.

"There's a slight decrease in reported dengue cases this year compared to last year during the same period. But most importantly the public must play their part and keep both the inside and outside of their houses clean."

Yesterday, Xavier along with Petaling Jaya deputy mayor Puasa Md Taib, councillor T. Anthony, and representatives of Subang Jaya and Klang Municipal Councils made house visits in Section 4 Petaling Jaya.

The objective was to check if residents had dog licences and also to spot dengue breeding grounds in houses.

Based on the visit, most dog owners do not have licences for their dogs and residents had containers and flower pots that had stagnant water.

Anthony said the door-to-door visits were effective because the council had taken a new approach to tackle both the dengue and the dog licensing issue.

He said awareness and education on what needed to be carried out were the best way to help residents understand the situation so that they could cooperate with the authorities.

Anthony said it would benefit the council in the long run if the council officers were given good training on how to tackle difficult situations.

"Dogs and other pets are becoming more like family members, therefore they must have identification.

"Pets if they are well taken care of will not become a nuisance.

"We want responsible owners," said Anthony.

StarMetro on June 29 by S Komaladevi.

Drop in dengue cases in Selangor

THERE has been a slight drop in the number of dengue cases in Selangor compared with last year.

However, Selangor executive councillor Dr Xavier Jeyakumar urged the public to continue taking measures to prevent the spread of the disease.

Kajang Municipal Council (MPKj) recorded the highest number of dengue cases among five local councils in Selangor. As of June this year, the municipality had 11 confirmed cases and one death.

It is followed by Subang Jaya Municipal Council (26 confirmed cases and six deaths), Ampang Jaya Municipal Council (55 confirmed cases and two deaths), Shah Alam City Council (29 confirmed cases and six deaths) and Petaling Jaya City Council (14 confirmed cases and three deaths).

Dr Xavier Jeyakumar said Kajang had a high population density and the residents were not keeping their surroundings clean.

Breeding ground: Dr Xavier pointing to rubbish left uncollected at a house during the house to house inspection.

He was speaking at the launch of dengue awareness and responsible pet ownership campaign at the MBPJ quarters in Section 4, Petaling Jaya, recently.

The event, held jointly with MBPJ, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and Petpositive, aimed to educate the public on how to prevent dengue and take care of their pets.

“We noticed there has been a sudden increase in the number of dengue cases in areas where rubbish is not collected for a week and areas near abandoned projects,” added Dr Xavier.

“Residents should clean their house compound regularly and not rely on fogging alone,” he said.

He urged the public to continue practising the 10-minute campaign, where they only had to spend 10 minutes a week to clean their houses to get rid of mosquito-breeding grounds.

Malaysian Animal Assisted Therapy for the Disabled and Elderly Association president Anthony Thanayasan hoped the authorities would also take note of the condition of the pets when they conducted dengue checks.

He added that they should look at how well the animals were being taken care of, besides checking the pet licences.

“This is one of the measures to avoid complaints regarding pets being a nuisance to neighbours,” Anthony said.

Both Dr Xavier and Anthony joined the authorities to conduct house-to-house checks during the event.

The Malay Mail by Jonathan Fernandez on 29th June:

PJ city council drive to care for pets and curb dengue

* 'Dengue and Responsible Pet Owners Awareness Programme'
* Local
* PJ city council

PETALING JAYA: The city council launched its 'Dengue and Responsible Pet Owners Awareness Programme' yesterday.

Selangor State exco Dr Xavier Jayakumar led council officers go house-to-house to inspect the owners' eligibility to keep pets like dogs and cats.

PJ councillor Anthony Sivabalan said this was the first time they had applied such an approach with the intention of inspiring a more friendly and caring connection between council members and residents.

"We cannot just send out letters or notices to those who have not been following the rules. To show we have everybody's interest at heart, we launched this campaign as a kind reminder for everyone of their social responsibilities.

"The council have received numerous complaints on how pets have been cruelly fitted into small cages and not being fed for days. We just don't want that," he said, adding there is also the issue of the dengue menace.

"Plastic wrappers and containers, if left carelessly, would collect water and be a perfect breeding ground for dengue mosquitoes. We want to advise residents to play their part in the fight against dengue."