PAWS is against the Quezon City Ordinance No. 2386 authored by Councilors Raquel Malangen and Jessica Castelo Daza, which was signed and approved by Mayor Herbert Bautista last March 13, 2015.
The ordinance is unclear, promotes pet abandonment – which is a violation of The Animal Welfare Act -and infringes on pet owners’ rights to property and their right to privacy. Further, the ordinance only recognizes sellers and breeders of pets as deserving of a P500 special permit and remains silent on the granting of a special consideration for the large number of concerned citizens – whether individual or groups - who help the City Government address animal control problems at the root by choosing to spay or neuter their own pets and regularly rescue, adopt or foster a dog from the streets or from Pounds and animal shelters.
PAWS and other animal welfare organizations were not consulted during the deliberation of Ordinance 2386.
The ordinance imposes a four-pet limit for households in Quezon City granting a "special permit" only under vague circumstances cited, among them- as mentioned in Section 8 - "No complaints regarding the keeping of such number of dogs or cats as running loose, foul odors, defecation, damage to property, injury to persons and other associated (sic) circumstances." The section implies that even defecation of animals – a natural occurrence – can be cited as grounds for a complaint.
The signed ordinance is replete with with grammatical errors and unclear statements such as this sentence under Section 9 labeled as “Duties and Responsibilities of a Pet Owner” , viz: “c. Not to let animals, particularly dog, under contact or physical restraint as to prevent such animal from becoming a danger to persons or property or from trespassing upon the property of another.”
It further cites among Section 10. Other Prohibited Acts as any one of the following
“b. Keeping or harboring any dog which has assaulted or attacked any person without provocation.”
And.. “e. has (a dog that) when provoked , chased or approached (sic) person upon the streets.. in a menacing fashion or apparent attitude of attack..”
“The authors and the approving authorities of this ordinance did little in terms of getting proper and sufficient information on dog behavior before putting out this ordinance,” says Anna Cabrera, PAWS Executive Director. “There are various circumstances where a person may be bitten ‘without provocation’ by a dog being walked by its owner in a public place and this is not a valid reason to cite it as a prohibited act.”
“It (the Ordinance) also opens up pet owners, especially dog owners, to complaints by any person for just about any action that any normal dog does, including ‘defecation’ , the ‘approaching of a person.. in a menacing fashion’ and the ‘biting’ of even a robber or a trespasser on the pet owner’s private property. “
PAWS is of the opinion that the prohibited acts in the said ordinance are ill-worded and much too open to any kind of interpretation to the detriment of responsible pet owners and animal rescuers, fosterers or adopters.
To add insult to injury, while the ‘special permit fee’ of P500 under the Ordinance is cited for activities such as “breeding, selling, trading and training”, there is no mention of any special exemptions or discounts for individuals or groups who help the City with its stray animal control problem through adopting or fostering, and therefore, those who keep spayed or neutered animals - animals which are not being kept for profit or for any of the breeding or selling activities.
PAWS is calling for all animal-loving residents and pet owners of Quezon City to peacefully gather at the parking lot in front of the QC Hall of Justice tomorrow, April 15th, at 9:30 am to protest the passage of Ordinance 2386 and to let the officials of Quezon City know that there should be more support for spay-neuter efforts of rescuers, fosterers, adopters and animal welfare organizations instead of putting out ordinances that criminalize the keeping of fixed animals in need of loving homes.
Note: PAWS contacted the Office of the QC Mayor this morning for an urgent meeting on this issue but did not receive a return call nor any updates from the Mayor’s staff members. According to an Inquirer reporter, the Vice Mayor, City Veterinarian and Councilor Daza released a statement to the press this afternoon that the “pet restriction ordinance is effectively repealed.” They explained that ‘there is a newer ordinance -- the veterinary code’, that does not have the pet restriction and it will “supersede the older one”. However, the press release on the QC Ordinance 2386 was sent out to the media only last April 8, 2014 by the City’s Public Administration and Information Service Office (PAISO). Referring to the new veterinary code is seemingly the officials’ way of apologetics or sweeping the problem under the rug and quell any public protest about the controversial ordinance.