Many were horrified to hear about the discovery of scarred, bleeding pit bulls crammed into cages in Indang, Cavite, when authorities raided an illegal dog fighting club in 2011.
The operation, which involved pitting the dogs against each other in fights while patrons placed bets, was shut down and the Korean club owners hauled off to court.
Four months later, a similar operation involving 300 emaciated, badly wounded dogs was discovered in Laguna, and the same persons, who were out on bail, were found to be behind it.
With a P5,000 fine and a jail term of only six months to two years, the 14-year-old animal welfare law hardly strikes fear in the heart of abusers, which is why there is a need to make this harsher so it could serve as an effective deterrent, according to the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS).
PAWS officials recently spoke before lawmakers and urged them to fast-track a pending bill sponsored by Bagong Henerasyon Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy which imposes a six- to 12-year prison term and a P10,000 fine on animal abusers.
PAWS lawyer Vicente Kayaban Jr., who handles the animal abuse cases that PAWS files, pushed for even higher penalties in cases where the animal dies or is left unable to care for itself.
This year alone, PAWS has recorded over 100 cases of animal abuse, according to executive director Anna Cabrera.
“Society’s treatment of animals is inseparable from its treatment of human beings,” Cab-rera said in her presentation before lawmakers.
Herrera-Dy said not all the authorities were taking the animal welfare act seriously, which was why she had proposed in her bill to put up animal welfare desks in police stations and barangay outposts, as well as create a Committee on Animal Welfare to be attached to the Department of Agriculture. Leila B. Salaverria