Animal welfare group questions city vet’s improper disposal of dead dogs

City veterinarian Dr. Cerelyn Pinili shows during a news conference in City Hall on Thursday the location of the barangays in Calinan District, Davao City where samples drawn from hogs tested positive for African swine fever (ASF). Lean Daval Jr

Davao-based animal welfare group is questioning City Veterinarian’s Office’s (CVO’s) improper disposal of dead dogs that were dumped in a private space in the boundary of Indangan and Panacan, Davao City.

Rovie Bullina, manager of Hofmann Corporate Social Responsibility on Animal Welfare, told Edge Davao that if animal carrion is dumped in an open space, it becomes a risk to public health as flies, bats and other dogs can easily access the corpse allowing viruses to travel.

A pile of dead dogs somewhere in Indangan-Panacan boundary, buried in a shallow mass grave several meters from a community is trending on social media that irked animal advocates in Davao City.
Bullina said this is also an issue of sanitation and illegal disposal of animal carrion.

“Think how virus can spread easily. Well, naa man gud proper disposal na standard dapat sa animal corpse. The community is only 5 minutes away. It may be far from public eyes, but the bacterias or viruses can travel through carriers,” she said.

In terms of animal welfare and public health sanitation, according to Bullina the CVO should know the proper handling of the disposal aside from it was just dumped irresponsibly.

“And why was it disposed outside of the city pound? True that the number of animal strays in Davao is uncontrollable and possibly the City Vet no longer has enough capacity for now to address that. If rabies control is one of the main purpose of picking strays and euthanizing them after 3 days, dumping them outside of the proper place of the dog pound already defeated the purpose. So the question is, is killing the animals the answer to this? For years that they have been impounding and euthanizing the animals, there is still a high number of rabies cases on dogs and animal strays. It clearly did not answer the problem. Another thing, a witness from the community said that a dog was stabbed on the neck and put on fire prepared to be eaten. This is clearly a violation of the RA 8485, the witness asked not to give his/her identity. Question, are the staff of the pound informed and well educated about RA 8485?” she said.

Republic Act 8485 is an act to protect and promote the welfare of all animals in the Philippines by supervising and regulating the establishment and operations of all facilities utilized for breeding, maintaining, keeping, treating or training of all animals either as objects of trade or as household pets.

Bullina added that spay and neuter must be highly available to control the population of the animals in the city.

“It is very expensive for the common people to go to the private vets and have their animals undergo kapon and ligate,” she said.

Bullina also believes that the problem comes from the community where the strays basically come from. She said there is a need to go back to the community and create better policies and local ordinances that will strengthen the protection, not only of the animals for their welfare, but the public as well.

“Penalize and jail the violators since we have the RA 8485, those who abandon and neglect their animals. Make the irresponsible owners accountable for having animals they cannot take care of, and so people will realize what they can handle,” she said.

Bullina said there are groups like Hoffmann CSR that are willing to partner with the CVO and the city to uphold and promote animal welfare and assist in curbing rabies problem and even public safety.

She said Hofmann CSR is willing to partner with the CVO in ways it can and would like to go back to the community and talk to them.

“But we need the help of the local government and its implementing agencies so implement the law and execute information drive. Hofmann CSR is also willing to sit and talk how we can participate and partner to curb the population of strays. Also, we would like to see on how we can include the animals in the evacuation contingencies during calamities such as what happened in Taal and the earthquakes, the animals were left behind,” she said.

Esther Cherry Rayos, assistant city veterinarian admitted the dead dogs, which were euthanized, were not properly disposed.

“Mabaw lang ang gikalot paglubong. Pero nahatagan nato namo ug solusyon. Giadtuan sa among personnel para malubong properly. Dili pud to gi-dump openly ang mga iro nagkataon lang nga mabaw ang lubnganan,” Rayos told media in I-Speak.

She explained that CVO has a proper of disposing dead animals such as the burial ground must be deep and a lime must be applied to avoid the foul stench of carrion before covering the grave.

“Wala ko kabalo ngano wala nasunod ang protocol,” Rayos said adding that they are coming up with stricter policies for the pet owners. “They must be responsible pet owners and treat dogs as part of the family and with proper care.” 

Rayos also said they have proposed a project for the disposal of dead animals but refused to give details about the proposal.