By ALMA J. BUELVA
“It takes nothing away from humans to be kind to animals.”
With these words, the Island Rescue Organization (IRO) gathered themselves to rescue homeless, abandoned and abused cats and dogs in Cebu for six years now.
The core group that formed IRO was originally looking for an animal shelter where they could volunteer. But none existed at that time so they decided to make their own.
Like any animal welfare group, IRO's struggle is real to extend help to needy animals. Their rescue center in Talamban, Cebu City can take in more or less 100 dogs and 30 cats. In there, they house 20 pitbulls that were rescued from a dog fighting syndicate in Cavite in 2012. At any given day, overcrowding at the shelter is a concern because there are simply many animals that need their help.
IRO strives hard to protect above all Philippines' native dogs, better known now as “Aspin”. It used to have a derogatory name “askal” short for asong kalye (street dog). A victim of many people's strong bias for purebreds, the Aspin more often than not always get the short end of the stick.
“An aspin would be the face of IRO. It’s a local breed that we have been strongly promoting because people usually neglect it. Sometimes people abuse or torture them because these dogs are of no value to them. It’s a sad reality that we see a lot of these dogs abandoned on the streets and very malnourished,” Mendez said.
While IRO doesn't see a decline in the overpopulation of stray cats and dogs and, Mendez said it's noticeable that more people today are vigilant when it comes to animal welfare.
***TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE ISLAND RESCUE ORGANIZATION, GET YOUR COPY OF THE LATEST PRINT EDITION OF METROPETS MAGAZINE.