WHY deal with stray dogs when local officials can do it for you?
Cebu City Veterinarian Dr. Alice Utlang gave this advice in response to reports about the acid attack done by a Talisay City resident on two stray dogs that resulted in their death a week ago in barangay Mohon, Talisay City.
“Don’t put the law on your hands. That is wrong. If there are problems, call the barangay or the city’s veterinary office. What that man (Alfred Alindao) did was very cruel,” she said.
Neighbors of Alindao defended his actions, saying the stray dogs were a nuisance in their area.
But Utlang said the residents may have provoked the dogs into attacking them.
“There must be something wrong with the people there. Maayo baya kaayo motimaan ning mga iro. Basig ila sad tong gihilabtan (Dogs are able to remember well. Maybe, they provoked the dogs),” she said.
She also blamed those who feed the dogs for not keeping them in leashes.
“Under the anti-rabies act, those who feed the dogs are also considered owners,” Utlang said.
Utlang, who heads the Department of Veterinary Medicine and Fisheries in Cebu City said while the Cebu City dog pound can only accommodate 50 dogs, they are housing 77 canines.
While healthier and better groomed dogs are separated for adoption, those who don’t pass standards for adoption are quarantined and left to wait for euthanasia.
“There are those that can still be treated but how much would the government spend for a single dog?,” she said.
Of the 77 dogs, 43 are scheduled for adoption while the remaining 34 are non-adoptable, Dr. Utlang said.
From January to May this year, the DVMF rounded up 544 dogs, 146 of which were surrendered by their owners.
Due to congestion in the dog pound, they only round up roaming dogs upon request from residents or barangay officials.
DVMF also trained barangay personnel in Binaliw, Mabolo, Pulangbato, Sudlon I, Labangon, Basak Pardo, Quiot, Cogon Pardo, Banilad, and Guba to catch roaming dogs in their area and report it to DVMF which will pick them up. Those that escaped are claimed by their owners.
Others are also donated to veterinary medicine students for experiments, but only after they sign a document with DVMF that they will treat the dogs “humanely.”
The DVMF also accepts voluntary turnover of dogs. Owners have to pay P150 for the registration and vaccination fees and to donate 10 kilos of dog food
Utlang said the DVMF will have to evaluate the surrendered dogs first.
If dogs can still be treated, they will offer assistance and the dogs will be given back to their owners. But if not, they will be taken to the dog pound.
“The owners should also have responsibility over their dogs. Dili sad pwede nga magsige lang migdawat ug patay (We can’t just receive and kill the dogs),” Utlang said.
Republic Act 8485 or the Animal Welfare Act states that it is unlawful for any person to neglect to provide adequate care, sustenance or shelter to any animal. “Owners should also be responsible,” Utlang said.
While 117 dogs were adopted from January to May this year, 242 have been euthanized.
Other owners also take their dogs to the pound to kill them.
Before the DVMF euthanizes a dog, owners have to sign a euthanasia form attesting that he/she wanted the dog euthanized.
“We let them see when we do it to see if they really wanted it to happen,” she said.
Euthanasia for dogs mean injecting them with two milligrams of pentobarbital, a type of anesthesia that would kill them in their sleep.
Utlang said they schedule euthanasia every Friday.
In October 2010, the DVMF stopped using an improvised gas chamber for eliminating stray dogs.
Dr. Utlang said only two percent of dog bite cases were caused by roaming dogs.
The rest were inflicted by house dogs who bite their owners as part of their “territorial” behavior. “Roaming dogs are “sociable,” said Utlang.
Utlang said they have five cases of dog bites in Cebu City this year.
Two are from barangay Apas while three other cases are from barangays Kinasang-an, Parian and Talamban. She said these dogs have owners but are not vaccinated.
“It’s not always the fault of the dog. The people don’t understand this. If only all dog owners are responsible, we wouldn’t be having any problem,” she said.
Utlang, a supporter of AsPins (Asong Pinoy), encouraged the public to adopt local dogs from the city’s dog pound instead of buying pure bred dogs.
Dogs up for adoption in the city’s dog pound are already vaccinated and dewormed.
“Just as we patronize our local products, as Filipinos we should patronize our local breed of dogs. Why buy when you can adopt? AsPins are resistant to diseases and are not high-maintenance pets,” she said.