15 August 2010

SuperDog Shoutouts

Seven to ten dogs are stuffed in a metal box and sealed. This sealed box is then attached to a tambucho (a vehicle’s exhaust pipe) where the rev up vehicle emit poisonous gas for 10 to 15 minutes to kill healthy dogs categorized as UNCLAIMED and UNWANTED! This crude but less costly method that violates the essence of Republic Act 8485 or the Animal Welfare Act has been endorsed by no less than the Committee on Animal Welfare (CAW) through an Administrative Order on Euthanasia of Animals approved by the Department of Agriculture last June. An average of 200 unclaimed dogs (strays) are put to death in city pounds across the Philippines or an estimated 27,000 every month!

There is a big debate about euthanasia for unwanted animals around the world bordering on a more “humane” and painless way of putting them to sleep which can be costly in a country like the Philippines which was the reason that even the government agencies here that was mandated to exercise the law that protects these animals violate it in principles.

There is something so grotesque and uncivilized in how we treat the “unwanted beings” (these include people especially those categorized as “informal settlers”) in our society. We concern ourselves with economic and political considerations instead of directly nipping the problem in the bud. The astounding number of domestic animals (dogs, cats, hamsters, rabbits, birds, etc.) “adopted” by people as pets and later discarded or let loose in the streets when these animals get sick, get old, or for any reasons that they end up being “unwanted” is the MAJOR cause of this problem which must be seriously addressed and all IRRESPONSIBLE Animal owners and breeders must be meted the full power of the law.

In certain cities in the United States (where more than four million cats and dogs are killed in shelters every year!), a small but growing movement to BAN retail pet sales in favor of adoption from local shelters are being put into place. In Albuquerque, New Mexico, where the ban was put into place in 2006, animal adoptions have increased by 23 percent and euthanasia at city shelters has decreased by 35 percent, which could provide more dramatic figures if this ban is implemented nationwide or even worldwide!

I think the government under President Benigno Simeon Aquino must carefully study these options:

1. Regulate and professionalize animal breeders.

2. Regulate or slowly ban retail pet sales in favor of adoption from local shelters. Local shelters must also be regulated and supported by local animal bureaus.

3. Regulate ownership of domestic pets by enforcing RA8485.
Barangay units must enforce full inspection and registration of ALL household pets (you will be surprised to find endangered species within your neighborhood!), ensuring that they get proper shots, not mention proper care and maintenance.

I witnessed a lot of animals TIED or left in CAGES in several homes and puppy mills with limited movements, poor condition without proper food and water, or kept as guard dogs (there must be a law against allowing people to keep several dogs in their properties as guard dogs or pets when it is apparent that the owner can not even properly care for just one dog which can be verified by actual inspection).

In my neighborhood alone, even with the FREE annual anti-rabies shots provided by the municipal and barangay offices which we helped support, there are still a lot of irresponsible owners who refused to have their dogs vaccinated yet allow these dogs to roam or run loose in our streets without leash, posing huge risks to passers-by including other dogs when their dogs sniff and bite other dogs even from the safety of the residential gates!

President Aquino or PNoy must seriously consider the plights of abused animals in our society as envisioned by laws like Republic Act 8485 (Animal Welfare Act) and 9482 (Anti-Rabies Act) in his desire to put our house (country) in order. PNoy must consider these laws as priorities because they affect communities (rabies from stray dogs and cats, overpopulation of strays, spread of diseases when stray dogs scatter trash in search of food, etc.) and local government must PENALIZE irresponsible ownership of animals and use the funds (from imposed fines and make these cruel people do community service!) to support more humane and reasonable methods of addressing unwanted animals in our communities or better yet, create a good re-home program for them.