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Veterinary services under the New Constitution

16 March 2012, 10:59 Anthony Muriuki Muthuri

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Are you one of those Kenyans who rears pets and livestock but one who rarely presents your animal to the Veterinarian for vaccination simply because you think it’s a waste of time or it may be too expensive.


Under the New Constitution, you are bound to get into trouble with the Veterinary Department and end up in jail or pay a huge fine if you are found to have denied your dog or donkey its rights by not seeking Veterinary assistance.

Under the new constitution you will also be required to acquire an identity card for your animals or pets, not from the Registrar of persons department but from the Veterinary department in order to be able to identify your animal and conduct follow for vaccinations against various diseases.

Disease control

The Imenti North District Veterinary Officer, within the Meru County, Philip Miaro has expressed concern over the failure by livestock, dairy farmers and dog owners to present their animals for vaccination saying they always ignore vaccination campaigns.

He said the pet owners and Livestock farmers normally prefer to use traditional methods of treating livestock and pets instead of taking them to the Veterinarian claiming it was too expensive for them to manage.

The DVO said this has played a major role in spreading  communicable diseases like ECF (EAST Coast Fever), rabies, Anthrax, Lumpy skin disease, among others which are life threatening not only to the animals but to human life at well.

If people took their animals for vaccinations and consulted with veterinarians any time their animals were ill, increase in communicable diseases would not be so prevalent and farmers will be getting maximum returns and quality products from their animals.

He said it was high time livestock farmers started taking the issue of animals’ health seriously saying their health is critical to human life since they belong to the list of consumables, since meat and dairy products, wool, skin and hides are all sourced from livestock.

He said pets on the other hand play an important role in enhancing home security, for those that rear dogs, while cats keep the old grandmother whose children have grown up and left home company in the warmth of her kitchen while at the same time dealing with the rodents that are a nuisance in homesteads.

Miaro however noted that there is need for public education on Veterinary laws within the new constitution, as well as the need for the Public to be informed on the importance of accessing veterinary care when the animals are ill.

Among the issues that affect the health and well being of an animal include feeding, medical care, and shelter and this should not be underestimated by a farmer who expects high returns from his animal, says Miaro.

He took issue with donkey owners who mistreated their donkeys by denying them basics like water, flogging them all the time until they are wounded yet they did not take them for treatment from the area Veterinarian, adding that the donkey plays a very important role in the transport sector.

He said not only is the donkey one of the cheapest modes of transport but it can also scale all types of road infrastructure and is normally used as the safest emergency method of transporting women who are due for delivery to the hospital especially during heavy rains.

Miaro says most of the cases are not reported because the owners of the donkeys fear the laws affecting the welfare of the animals such as restraining the owners from using the animals until they are given the green light to use them.

The vet advised wananchi to tame a number of animals they can care for instead of keeping so many dogs and leaving them to wander off where they may contract diseases.

He said anyone whose dog bites a person yet it had not been vaccinated against rabies, risks being prosecuted in a court of law where the law relating to the welfare of animals under the new constitution will be applied.

Miaro emphasized on the need for the Public to seek Veterinary services from registered Veterinary practitioners adding that the profession has been permeated by quacks who operated under the pretext that they were qualified Veterinarians.

Miaro says moving an animal from one area to another without seeking authority from the Veterinary department can cost the country a lot and lead to spread of communicable diseases that may not have been prevalent within the country in the past.

Under the New Constitution, it will be the responsibility of County Governments to control and care for the welfare of animals within their Counties.

This includes, licensing of dogs, their shelter and care and burial of animals as stipulated in the fourth schedule of the constitution.

These powers are accorded in article 185(2), 186(1) and 187(2) of the constitution.

Special dog identity cards will be used to eradicate the prevalence of stray dogs.

If ones dog dies on the road, the owner of the dog will be recognized by use of the identification mark.

The Identity card will also be used to trace the owner of the dog in an instance where a person has been bitten by a stray dog.

In an instance where the owner of a dog that has bitten an individual cannot be traced, then the law requires that the carcass be buried in order to avoid environmental degradation attributed to the stench of the dead animal.

Miaro calls for instant disposal of dead animals to prevent instances of them rotting away since they can pause as a major health hazard to the population.

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