Court sends dog meat traders to jail | Inquirer News
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Court sends dog meat traders to jail

/ 12:24 AM July 31, 2011

BAGUIO CITY—Animal welfare advocates scored a legal victory after a court here sent four men to jail for dog meat trading.

Judge Mia Joy Cawed, of the Baguio family court, sentenced Demetrio Palawi, Rogelio Miana, Jun Jun Bugayong and Marlon Barte to a year in prison and fined them P300,000. The court imposed the minimum penalty after they admitted guilt.

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In a decision on July 20, Cawed found the four accused guilty of violating the provisions of Republic Act No. 7394 (Consumer Act of the Philippines) and RA 9482 (Anti-Rabies Act of 2007). They were arrested here in November last year while transporting 30 dogs, which were already slaughtered and prepared for selling to local traders and eateries offering dog meat dishes.

Charges against another accused, a male teenager, were dismissed because he is a minor. But the court asked the municipal social welfare and development office in Calasiao, Pangasinan, to monitor him and ensure that he will not break the law again.

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The Animal Kingdom Foundation (AKF) Inc., a nongovernment organization working for animal welfare and campaigning against animal cruelty, said the conviction was the first involving illegal dog meat trade.

Ivy Joy Buenaobra, AKF education officer, said this was a major victory for animal welfare advocates.

“This shows that the law has teeth. The law is not only [good in] paper but not… in practice. This only proves that we can restore our trust in the justice system,” she told the Inquirer.

The AKF, a local affiliate of the United Kingdom-based International Wildlife Coalition Trust (IWCT), helped the Cordillera police in their campaign against illegal dog meat trade in the city and nearby areas, where dog meat is considered a delicacy.

“This is a groundbreaking case and establishes a legal precedence since this is the first time that we won a jail sentence under the Anti-Rabies Law and the Consumer Act,” lawyer Heidi Marquez-Caguioa, AKF legal officer, said in a statement.

Sheena Clavel, AKF assistant education officer, said dogs sold in Baguio City, Benguet and other Cordillera provinces come from Southern Tagalog. Many dogs die as they are stuffed in small vehicles, with their snouts wrapped in tape or wire, or muzzled by tin cans, for the almost 10-hour trip to Baguio.

“[Many] residents in Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) do not eat dogs, that is why they sell these to dog traders,” said Clavel.

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Dogs, she said, are sold for as much as P2,000 each.

“When dogs are transported, they are packed and concealed in vehicles to avoid detection,” she said.

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TAGS: Animals, Crime, Dog Meat, Food, Laws, Trade
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