YANGON — Animal shelters including those that shelter stray dogs are required by the new Yangon municipal law to apply for a license, according to the Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC).
“According to the municipal law enacted in 2018, shelters have to apply for licenses to operate,” Dr. Hla May Oo, assistant section head of the veterinary and abattoir section of the YCDC, told The Irrawaddy.
Operating an animal shelter without permission is punishable by a fine of 100,000 to 500,000 kyats under the new municipal law. A second-time violation carries a prison sentence of up to six months.
The city municipality did not issue licenses for animal shelters before the enactment of the new municipal law, so all existing shelters and pounds will have to apply for licenses, said Dr. Hla May Oo.
Daw Shu, the founder of a pound that currently is taking care of some 400 stray dogs in Yangon’s Shwe Paukkan, said she is ready to apply for a license for her shelter.
“I will pay the tax if I’m asked to do so. I don’t have the heart to leave behind all these dogs,” said Daw Shu, who established the pound in 2013.
Ma Zin Mar, a dog lover who makes regular donations to animal shelters, suggested that authorities make regular inspection of animal shelters to ensure they comply with rules and regulations.
“They are closely connected with the health of humans. Humans can contract diseases from them. So, [authorities] must make sure rules and regulations are obeyed at animal shelters,” she said.
There have been reports on social media that some people run sham pounds and cheat money from donors.
“Though it is charity work, we must make sure the way they operate meets charity procedures,” said Mingalar Taungnyunt Township lawmaker U Hla Htay of the Yangon regional Parliament, who also took part in drafting and reviewing the new municipal law.
Concerned rules and regulations are in the process of being drafted, he added.
There is only one pound for stray dogs managed by the YCDC in Yangon, which is located in Hlaingtharyar Township.
Yangon has a stray dog population of more than 120,000, said YCDC, which either sterilizes or immunizes them against rabies in four downtown townships—Lanmadaw, Pabedan, Kyauktada and Latha.
The new municipal law signed by the Yangon Region chief minister on June 28 will take effect as of October 1. Meanwhile, the YCDC is educating the public.
Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.