Adopted cats not those missing at BGC
The 12 cats adopted by employees of Shangri-La at the Fort, Manila, are not the missing felines from a beloved cat colony at Bonifacio Global City (BGC), an animal welfare group said on Thursday.
Ria Ilano, senior volunteer at Compassion and Responsibility for Animals (Cara) Welfare Philippines, told the Inquirer that the group compared pictures of the adopted cats with those of the missing felines from a Facebook page run by a group of volunteers, Cats of BGC.
“Most of them have notched ears, which is an international sign that the cat [has been] trapped, neutered, released,” Ilano said.
People at BGC who fed the cats also checked all the photos given by Shangri-La, she said, and a “very detailed” comparison was made.
“One thing’s for certain, those are not the cats of BGC,” she said, adding that they may have been cats rescued off the street, but not the park adjacent to the hotel where the BGC cats lived.
Volunteers remain committed to searching for the missing cats, Ilano said.
A meeting held between representatives of Cara Welfare, Shangri-La, Philippine Dogs and Cats Rescuer Association and Pestbusters on Wednesday was the first time animal welfare groups had a chance to meet with the pest control company that Shangri-La hired to “relocate” the cats.
Cara Welfare clarified that 13 cats, not 11 as earlier stated by Shangri-La, were taken between Jan. 31 and Feb. 12 and dumped at Barangay Buting in Pasig City and on Anastacio Street at Guadalupe Viejo in Makati City.
According to a statement from Cara Welfare, Pestbusters is an existing service provider of Shangri-La for routine pest control.
The hotel enlisted Pestbusters to assist in removing the cats after several were seen in the Shangri-La basement and hotel perimeter.
In the same statement, Cara Welfare said it was informed by Pestbusters that the company picked up eight cats on Jan. 31, placed them in cages, and took them to Barangay Buting in a taxicab.
The other five cats, it said, were taken between Feb. 1 and 12. The cats, it said, were hand-carried in cages and dumped on Anastacio Street.
Ilano said Pestbusters violated Republic Act No. 10631, the amended Animal Welfare Act, because it did not have a permit from the Bureau of Animal Industry to transport the cats.
“Since [they] are a business conducting a service, they need that permit. Whether or not they handled it in a humane way, [they’re] already in direct violation of RA 10631,” Ilano said.
Cara Welfare’s statement said that Pestbusters was apologetic for its handling of the situation, saying: “We are truly very sorry for what happened. We did what we thought was our best with good intentions. We thought we were doing the right thing. We acted on our best knowledge that was not good enough.”
Shangri-La general manager John Rice released a statement on Wednesday, admitting that the hotel “did not engage with the right partners” in attempting to relocate the cats that had wandered into its premises.
“We should have reached out to our community,” he said.
Rice said Shangri-La was collaborating with Cara Welfare to increase awareness and assist in recovery efforts.