KUCHING: Sarawak will soon have a new animal village to shelter strays, complete with a health centre, boarding facilities, a cafe and a grooming centre.

Sarawak Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) president Datin Donna Drury-Wee said the facility, with a size of about 10,000 sq ft, will be built on a 0.8-hectare land given by the state government.

“We hope the council will approve our building plan. Then, we can start the construction,” she said after Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg performed the ground-breaking at the site here yesterday.

The proposed shelter is located at Sungai Tapang and will be able to cater to about 170 cats and dogs at any one time.

“There will be 220 cages. Some will be allocated for boarding to generate income and some will be used for recovery after neutering,” said Donna, adding that the village will have a veterinary centre to provide the neutering service. The construction cost is estimated at RM5 million.

“We will be reaching out to individuals and corporations to assist with annual sponsorship grants to support the work that we are doing to help make Sarawak rabies-free again and to make it a stray-free state with responsible owners,” she said.

Abang Johari commended the initiative taken by SSPCA as the idea was brought to his attention nine years ago.

Abang Johari (centre) with Donna as (from left) Dr Sim, Uggah and Wee look on during the ground-breaking ceremony of SSPCA’s new facility in Sungai Tapang. Photo: Ghazali Bujang

“One of the areas that we have to look at if we are going to have a clean city is stray dogs and cats. I informed the late chief minister (Pehin Sri Adenan Satem) that Donna and her team have applied for a piece of land. He was very sympathetic and brought upon this land.

“After his passing and I took over, the land was surveyed by the Land and Survey Department and we gave the land title to the society,” he said.

Also present were Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian and MBKS Mayor Datuk Wee Hong Seng.

NEW ANIMAL SHELTER … SSPCA president Datin Donna Drury-Wee briefs Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg on the artist’s impression of the state-of-the-art animal shelter for the strays during a ground-breaking ceremony at Sungai Tapang, Kuching yesterday. The facility will be equipped with a health centre, boarding facilities, a cafe and a pet-grooming centre. Photo: Ghazali Bujang