Sick, abandoned dogs in Cebu City face death
CEBU CITY, Cebu, Philippines — At least 77 abandoned dogs in this city may have to be euthanized due to their deteriorating health condition.
Dr. Jessica Maribojoc, the Cebu City veterinarian, said these dogs were among the 101 canines the Cebu City government rescued from an abandoned animal shelter in the mountain village of Adlaon two weeks ago after their owner left them sometime in February this year.
As of Tuesday, May 30, Maribojoc said that 77 of the dogs were still being subjected to evaluation to determine if they remain fit for adoption or should already be euthanized.
Three of the dogs were already adopted, five have completed the verification process for adoption while 16 others have died.
“I hope people will understand that we have to lessen the agony of these dogs. They came from a very stressful environment and now they are in this kind of situation that is very taxing,” Maribojoc told the Inquirer on Monday.
She said the rescued dogs were very weak and sickly since they had not eaten for probably a month.
“In fact, some of them killed other dogs just to survive,” Maribojoc said.
Based on the information they gathered, she said the rescued dogs were fed by the shelter’s caretaker for three months using personal money even without any salary.
However, she said the caretaker eventually left the dogs. Since they were already very weak and sick, the remaining dogs have to be euthanized.
Maribojoc, however, assured the public that the sick dogs will be euthanized in a rapid, painless and stress-free death.
Instead of exposing the animals to carbon monoxide, she said they would adopt a system where the dogs will simply be put to sleep.
Maribojoc said the city government had postponed the euthanasia of these dogs several times, hoping that some people would come over to adopt some of the dogs.
“I appeal to dog lovers who have enough space at home to visit the Cebu City dog pound to possibly adopt some of these dogs,” she said.
Maribojoc reminded those who wanted to rescue animals and put them at home to coordinate with the Cebu City government. Those who have more than 10 dogs must inform the city government and have their pets listed at the Bureau of Animal Industry, she added.
Republic Act No. 9482 or the Anti-Rabies Act states that if a dog is captured, the city pound has the authority to fine the owner or to euthanize the dog if they are not claimed within the holding period, which is usually within one day to a week from capture.
The Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), a registered nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection and promotion of humane treatment of all animals, said euthanizing unclaimed animals in a pound after the holding period remains legal in the country.
The group, on its website, however, stressed that the government must employ humane methods when catching and performing euthanasia on animals.
The most humane way to euthanize an animal, it said, is through barbiturates, a kind of depressant or sedative drug. Other methods, such as gassing or electrocution, are inhumane and illegal, PAWS said.
Gassing was formerly used to kill dogs by connecting the hose from a vehicle’s exhaust pipe and revving the engine continuously for 10 to 15 minutes, emitting poisonous fumes and sending the dogs to death.
“We have very little influence on what happens in city pounds, but PAWS will take action if there is evidence of inhumane methods or acts of animal cruelty taking place in an animal pound,” it said.
In a media forum on Tuesday, Maribojoc said the animal shelter in Barangay Adlaon was already cordoned off. The place can’t be touched until after the clarificatory conference that the Cebu City Legal Office scheduled on Wednesday, May 31, with the lot owner and the identified owner of the abandoned dogs.
“I-final[ize] pa na namo kay si mayor gusto jud siya na file-lan og case, which is violation of [the] animal welfare act, abandonment, and [na] neglect naman gud ang mga dogs,” she said.
If proven negligent, the dog owner would be asked to pay a maximum penalty of P100, 000 per dog that died due to abandonment or serve jail time ranging from one year and six months and a day to two years.
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