NEWS & FEATURES
Have you heard the woofest mews?
Have you heard the woofest mews?
A MAN who posed as a veterinarian was nabbed by police in Galas, Quezon City, Metro Manila after he tried to swindle a grieving pet parent whose dog passed away last November due to undetermined causes.
The man in the photo, Mario Tirona Saratan (a.k.a. Mark Tirona), was accused of pretending to be an experienced veterinarian who offered to check on Simon, a native white dog who became comatose and being cared for at home, for P4,500 in one visit. Saratan, however, failed to show Simon's owner any identification card to prove that he is a licensed veterinarian.
Simon's owner who, for security reasons, wishes to be identified only as “Jeric”, said a certain Joseph Tirona (a.k.a. John Real in Facebook) initially contacted him via the social media app to recommend his “dad” Mark Tirona who he claimed to have over 40 years of experience as a veterinarian, "specializing on rare and hard to treat sickness.”
As a pet owner who wanted to exhaust all means to see his dog well again, Jeric agreed for Saratan to visit Simon. But Jeric said he soon became suspicious after Saratan simply advised them to stop all Simon's medications and instead give the poor dog only milk. A few hours later, Saratan told Jeric to pay him P4,500 doctor's fees, but the latter refused because Saratan had no ID or official receipt to show. Afterwards, Jeric said they repeatedly tried to demand payment but he simply didn't entertain them.
This week, Jeric found himself face-to-face with Saratan and Tirona at the barangay where the two elevated their complaint. This time, the two men were demanding to be paid P15,000 on top of the P4,500 unpaid fees plus interest for them not to pursue a case against Jeric for none payment. Unfortunately for them, Jeric, was able to establish that Saratan is a fraud by making an inquiry with the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).
“I went to PRC Manila to verify his identity if he is registered vet. Tama po hinala ko (My hunch is right), this guy is a hoax. This guy who introduced himself as Mario Tirona Saratan a.k.a Mark Tirona, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine is not a registered Vet. (He and) his son Joseph, a.k.a. John Real on Facebook, are scammers. They’re taking advantage of people who are grieving,” Jeric posted on Facebook.
Jeric said the fake veterinarian and his assistant typically conduct their modus operandi by looking at Facebook posts about sick pets so they could contact and offer their “services” to the worried owners.
Jeric is asking other pet owners who have been possibly victimized by the same men to come forward and help build a stronger case against the fake veterinarian and his assistant. As of this writing, Jeric said Saratan and Tirona are expected to be released per order of the fiscal for further investigation.
To know more about the case of Simon, visit or follow @LabanSimon on Facebook.
THE National Audubon Society has announced that 2018 is the Year of the Bird!
This is not about keeping birds as pets, but about appreciating and protecting them.
The Audubon, a US-based non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation and protection of all kinds of birds in the world, together with National Geographic, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and BirdLife International are joining forces with more than 100 other organizations and millions of people around the world to celebrate 2018 as the “Year of the Bird.”
This effort aims to heighten public awareness of birds because of their wonder and beauty—and because they symbolize nature’s interconnectedness and the importance of caring for our shared planet.
To get started, visitors to BirdYourWorld.org will discover simple but meaningful steps that anyone can take to help birds each month and join a pledge to participate.
Through 12 months of storytelling, science research and conservation efforts, Year of the Bird will examine how our changing environment is driving dramatic losses among bird species around the globe and highlight what we can do to help bring birds back.
The campaign's hashtag, #BirdYourWorld throughout 2018, will also utilize National Geographic’s portfolio of media platforms reaching millions of people around the world with engaging bird content that will educate, inspire and raise awareness about the challenges that birds are facing and what people can do to help.
“Birds inspire us and have an almost magical way of bringing us together—and when we act together on behalf of birds, we can accomplish truly meaningful things,” says Mark Jannot, vice president of content for Audubon, and the Editor-in-Chief of Audubon magazine. – MetroPets
THE Bureau of Animal Industry in partnership with the Technological Institute of the Philippines recently launched their own free Android application aimed at improving public awareness about animal rabies.
The Rabies Free 2020 app is available for download in Google Play Store. The app is pretty straightforward and simple in style and function.
The app has five sections that provide an overview about rabies, list of animal bite centers, locations of animal rabies diagnostic laboratories nationwide, hotlines and contact information, and about the app development.
The Rabies Free 2020 app makes a barking sound when a new section is opened. The text are in Filipino and there are links to existing rabies-free campaign videos from the BAI like the one below.
The app gives general information about rabies from symptoms, phases and prevention, among others. It seeks to guide the public, too, on how to become responsible pet owners to help prevent the spread of rabies.
The Philippines aims to become completely rabies free by 2020. By 2030, the world is expected to have eradicated rabies completely. -- MetroPets
ARE you excited about the fact that 2018 turned out to be the Year of the Dog? Although the Chinese regard it as something that could have influence on peoples' lives for the next 12 months, dog lovers simply can't pass the chance to take it literally to let their pooches shine. But before we do that, here are just 10 basic things to remember about the Year of the Dog:
* The Year of the Dog kicks in at the Chinese New Year which will be on Friday, the 16th of February.
* According to those who believe in the significance and symbolisms behind the Chinese 12-year animal zodiac cycle, dog years could actually be unlucky for people born in previous years of the Dog.
* People born during the Year of Earth Dog (1958, 2018) are likely to be communicative, serious, and responsible in work – good qualities to have even in a dog.
* Three US Presidents were born in the Year of the Dog. They are George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Donald Trump. Benjamin Franklin, one of America's Founding Fathers, was also born during the Year of the Dog.
* Other famous people born in the Year Of The Dog include: Justin Bieber, Michael Jackson, Mother Teresa, Madonna, Ethan Hawke, Mariah Carey, Prince William, Queen Latifah and Socrates.
* In America last year, Max and Bella were the most popular names for a male and female dog, respectively. Wonder what would it be in 2018?
* There are estimated 70 million dogs in the United States and 11.6 million in the Philippines.
* There are about 340 breeds of dogs recognized by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI), the world governing body of dog breeds, sometimes known as the World Canine Organization.
* A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself. (Josh Billings)
* Whatever the Year of the Dog brings, one thing is certain: Lucky are the dogs that have the love and care of a responsible owner. -- MetroPets
By 2030, the world is expected to have eradicated rabies for good.
The Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC) said the new target provides an annual marker to showcase progress at all levels – from the international to the community – towards every country’s rabies elimination efforts.
The Philippines aims to make the country completely rabies-fress by 2020.
Rabies: Zero by 30, the theme for World Rabies Day, 2017, is being supported by local veterinarians, many of whom went door-to-door in depressed areas where high cases of rabies were recorded.
Reuters reported that Filipino veterinarians, in partnership with the animal protection group Humane Society International (HSI), led the free mass vaccination drive using not just their syringes but also their smartphones to track areas of concern.
HSI launched the rabies tracker smartphone app that records rabies inoculations and geotags dogs by location as a way to control the disease.
The Bureau of Animal Industry placed the canine population in the Philippines at 10 million at least. The World Health Organization (WHO) said dogs without anti-rabies shots are the primary conduits (99 percent of cases) of the disease that spreads to humans.
The HSI said cases of rabies in the Philippines are among the highest globally, with at least 200 Filipino deaths from the disease annually, mainly due to dog bites. Despite this alarming figure, the Philippines was ranked by WHO as among the countries making “great strides” in fighting the disease.
THIS was the question that French researcher Marc-Antoine Fardin asked in his science paper that won him the Ig Nobel for physics this year.
"Can a cat be both a solid and a liquid” at the same time? Fardin explained that a liquid can adapt its shape to the container it is in. It's a condition that seems applicable to cats to some extent. A good example is this cat inside a glass jar.
Aside from boxes of all shapes and sizes, cats are known to try to fit inside the most unconventional vessels such as bowls, glasses and tubes, among others. They also do it almost effortlessly as if they are truly in a liquid-like state.
Pretty much like this cat in the video.
The Ig Nobel Prize is a parody of the Nobel Prize, which is awarded every autumn to celebrate ten unusual or trivial achievements in scientific research. Since 1991, the Ig Nobel Prizes have been awarded to “honor achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think.”
Presented at Harvard University by bemused real Nobel Prize laureates, the Ig awards are not an attempt at ridiculing science, the Ig Nobel website states.
“Good achievements can also be odd, funny, and even absurd, so can bad achievements,” it explains.
"A lot of good science gets attacked because of its absurdity. A lot of bad science gets revered despite its absurdity."
Aside from Fardin, 9 other researchers who invested time and money in solving life's improbable yet important questions from different fields were also honored in early September with Ig Nobels.
The theme of this year's Ig Nobels was "Uncertainty". -- AFP with notes from MetroPets
INSTAGRAM has bred a new form of celebrity—the dog. Man’s best friend has become one of man’s biggest influencers with social petworking becoming an increasingly explored route for marketing and promotion. And currently, the hottest dog in Instagram is Jiffpom with 6.5 million followers as of September 9, 2017.
To know the shakers and movers among dogs in Instagram, Lovejoy, a pet food maker from Norfolk, England, analyzed all the profiles of Instagram’s most popular breeds of dogs. Over the past few years the Pomeranian called “Jiffpom” has emerged as easily Instagram’s most followed pet. But how many of Jiffpom’s Instagram posts are organic and how many promote brands or other social media stars?
Lovejoy discovered that for those who manage the most successful Instagram dog accounts out there, their random, spur of the moment posts of dog pictures and videos make up only about a third of their content. Many are now cashing in on their dog's popularity by creating promotional and collaborative posts that endorse brands.
Data based on 50 posts analyzed from April 12-July 3 2017 showed that content posted on Jiffpom's Instagram page were 33 percent organic and 67 percent advertising-related. Jiffpom is so popular that he has appeared in adverts for Banana Republic and a music video for Katy Perry.
Lovejoy's data analysis also showed that smaller breeds are followed by more people (78 percent of dog followers on Instagram) and therefore make for better influencers. The top seven most popular breeds all come in relatively miniature form.
When it comes to large breeds, the Husky seems to be the favorite, specifically Loki the Wolfdog with 1.5 million followers.
Dogs, with their googly eyes and funny peculiarities, have proven they can steal not just the hearts of people but also vie for endorsement projects that used to be reserved for humans. With endless possibilities for creating heartwarming content, it is easy to see why so many brands are jumping on this bandwagon where people don't just walk the dog but also follow the dog.
IF you are visiting Tagaytay, you may want to drop by the newly opened cat cafe located along the Sta. Rosa-Tagaytay Road for a quick get-together with their adorable cats.
Tabby Town is the first cat cafe this side of town. It is by the same owner of The Pet Cafe by Velvet Friends in Pasay City.
Tabby Town had its soft opening early this month and it is looking forward to welcoming regular guests from the Calabarzon region as well as day trippers from Manila.
Proprietor Chito Aclon designed Tabby Town to have a homey look and feel so that weary travelers can relax and enjoy the calming companionship of cats before they head out to their next destinations. Guests can also have a quick meal of pastas and drinks here.
A good mix of purebred and native cats will make up Tabby Town's regular “crew” which currently stands at 17. Chito said they can have up to 30 domestic cats at Tabby Town.
This cat cafe has three levels. The first level is the reception area, the second floor belongs to the cats while the third floor is being eyed as a place for Corgis and other dog breeds.
Tabby Town is open six days a week, except Tuesday, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Its exact address is 410 Purok 5 Brgy Lumil, Silang, Cavite. Nearby landmarks are the entrance to Suntrust Verona Executive Village and a Caltex gas station.
By Alma J. Buelva
A CANINE behavior expert plans to open a unique dog training facility where the trainers will be former drug users. Second Life Academy aims to equip rehabilitated drug users with the right set of skills for basic dog training that they can use to find work later.
The training will be offered for free to ex-drug offenders.
A brainchild of Ronald Lumbao, a professional canine behavior consultant and certified dog trainer with the International Positive Dog Training Association in Canada, Second Life looks at dog training as a way for some ex-drug dependents to re-enter society and succeed in getting a second chance as dog trainers.
The plan is to have three training schools located at Albay in Bicol and somewhere in Metro Manila and North Luzon. Although no facility is up yet, Lumbao said they are now ready to screen and accept applicants to start the first batch of 20 trainees this October.
“Everything is ready except for the facility. We hope to have one fully operational by January 2018,” Lumbao said.
To qualify for the program, Second Life wants applicants who finished high school at least and with recommendation from their barangay and support from their families. Aspiring dog trainers should also pass a written exam and interview to assess if they can work well with dogs.
Each trainee must bring any breed of dog that is not more than three months old for training. Together, the student and the dog will train for 24 weeks. Lumbao said the course involves basic dog obedience training, dog psychology, housebreaking and common behavior problems, among others. The students, on the other hand, will go through theoretical and practical exercises. A certification and endorsement will be awarded to those who will complete and pass the course.
The course will also include work ethics, moral values, basic financial and business management and customer service. While in the program, the ex-drug user will benefit from the therapeutic effects of bonding with dogs, said Lumbao.
“Second Life is about training dogs and transforming former drug users into better persons...At the end of the course, the graduate is equipped with scientific training principles and the foundations for advanced training,” he added.
To ensure the dogs' safety, Second Life promises to employ only positive training system and will not use nasty choke and prong collars on the dogs.
“One of the reasons we are limiting the class to 20 people is to have close supervision...The dogs will be safe from any misuse or abuse of training tools. Trainees caught harming a dog will be expelled immediately,” said Lumbao who will conduct the training along with two other trainers.
The real challenge at the moment is finding organizations to back up Second Life's charitable cause. Lumbao has submitted proposals to companies and a local government unit but has not received a definite support yet.
“For now, we have private individuals helping us,” Lumbao said, adding that there are four ways people and companies can support Second Life's mission of giving new lease of life to past drug offenders.
To help Second Life:
* Endorse the program as a corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative
* Host a public seminar on Dog Life Balance
* Buy Lumbao's books (Mag Aso Ay Di Biro, Nanaginip Ba Ang Aso, and Dog-Life Balance)
To know more about Lumbao and his dog-centric undertakings and advocacies, visit traildogs.ph
By ALMA J. BUELVA
This is Wawa who is holed up alone in a boarding house in Marawi City with her two kittens. Their owner is worried they have already run out of food and water.
CLASHES between the military and Maute Group of terrorists in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur have victimized not just thousands of people but also animals, particularly pet dogs and cats.
As residents flee following the declaration of martial law in their embattled city on May 23, many were unable to take their pets with them.
In an interview with MetroPets, Maria Ninotchka Herrera who lives in Marawi City, recalled how she and her family fled to Iligan City when the fighting started, taking her Siberian Husky Maya and her Japanese Spitz Misao with them. During the arduous nine-hour journey that normally takes only an hour, Herrera said she saw other people evacuating with their cats and dogs.
Herrera and her dogs enjoying nature at the golf course inside Mindanao State University in Marawi. The city is presently the scene of heavy fighting between the military and a terrorist group. The photo was taken in the morning of May 23, 2017. At night, they would evacuate for Iligan City. (Photo from Notch Herrera)
A teacher from Mindanao State University (MSU) in Marawi City, Herrera said some of her friends were forced to hastily leave their pets inside the campus with food and water good for three days. But as the fighting drags on, her friends now worry about their pets and are hoping to return to the university to secure them.
“I saw my friends' posts in social media and they are worried for their pets as we really don't know when we can go back to the campus,” she added.
Riz Sunio, a college professor from RC-Al Khwarizmi International College Foundation, Inc. located in downtown Marawi, was also forced to leave her two black kittens and their mother in a room inside a private boarding house at MSU. She left them last Tuesday (May 23) with about 400g of cat food and water, which she fears her cats have all consumed by now.
“I wanted to bring them with me in Lala, Lanao del Norte. I got an extra backpack to put them in, but because we would only hitch a ride I was advised not to, as having cats (during the trip) might be bothersome for other people,” Sunio said who added that she vehemently argued on behalf of her cats in vain.
Wawa, the mother cat, gave birth to Ling-ling and Tom-tom a little over a month ago. “The kittens have just learned to eat solid food. I hope they can make do with their mother's milk for now,” said Sunio.
In one of her recent Facebook posts, Sunio expressed her desperate desire to fetch her three cats “when the coast is clear.”
“They are family to me and family is not supposed to be abandoning one another,” Sunio said.
Sunio's cats are holed up at a boarding house in PBB Extension, Barrio Dimalna II, Mindanao State University, Marawi City.
Here's a short video of Tom-Tom and Ling-Ling playing together before the clashes started.
Like Sunio, many residents were also forced to leave their pets behind. Herrera said those who left their pets in their homes fear that their hungry animals might risk stepping outside to scavenge for food. Pets that were left tied or caged definitely face starvation and won't be able to hide from the dangers surrounding them.
Herrera and her dogs are fortunate to have reached Iligan safe and sound. She said it was “unthinkable” for them to leave their dogs behind, just like one of their neighbors who also evacuated Marawi with their four dogs, she added.
Herrera said her two five-year-old girls, Misao and Maya, get scared when they hear gunshots and explosions. She hopes that their photo taken just before they evacuated won't be their last picture in their house.
There are no established animal welfare groups in Marawi City, Herrera said. A few private citizens have tried to rally pet lovers in social media to help the stranded pets in Marawi but so far nothing concrete has happened.
Marawi City also has its share of stray dogs and cats that are currently exposed to all sorts of dangers brought about by the military operations against the Maute Group of terrorists.
ANIMAL lovers worldwide scored a huge victory after it was announced that dog and cat meat will be banned from this year's Yulin Festival in China.
The ban will come into effect on June 15, a week before the start of the gruesome festival that in recent years saw the slaughter of thousands of dogs and cats, many stolen from their owners, for their meat.
Eleven million people around the world have signed the petition to stop the organizers and supporters of Yulin Festival from killing and consuming dog and cat meat by first bludgeoning them to death or even cooking them alive.
According to Andrea Gung, executive director of Duo Duo Animal Welfare Project, the ban ends the sale of dog meat in restaurants, markets and by streets vendors. Those who violate the ban will be arrested and fined up to 100,000 yuan (nearly $15,000).
Although it is only a temporary ban, Gung said it will hopefully lead to the collapse of the dog meat trade. Yulin Festival is not an old tradition but a mere creation of enterprising dog meat traders that started in 2009. Gung said the ban is consistent with how Yulin and the rest of the country are changing for the better.
Animal rights activists, campaigners and international celebrities like Ricky Gervais, Sharon Osbourne and the late Carrie Fisher were in the forefront of the fight against the unthinkable cruelty that thousands of innocent animals were subjected to for the ghastly dog meat festival. At its height, the 10-day Yulin Festival saw the deaths of up to 15,000 canine and other animals.
The signature campaign, organized by the Humane Society International and other charities, was also instrumental in petitioning the local government to halt the practice of killing and eating dogs and cats in Yulin. -- MetroPets
By ALMA J. BUELVA
EASTER is about triumph, redemption and new beginnings. It is a holy occasion that men and women reflect on to find meaning or purpose in their lives.
Animals don't know Easter, although some of them have luckily experienced salvation and second chances, too. One of them is Sassy, a six-year-old female pit bull who had a dark past. Sassy used to viciously fight other pit bulls as victims of a brutal dog fighting syndicate that operated in the Laguna province.
On March 2012, Sassy and 265 other pit bulls were rescued. Some of them didn't last long in this world but others like Sassy managed to hold on while they are being rehabilitated at a private animal sanctuary. Sassy's fate even got better the day she was adopted into a loving home.
Sassy's life is an Easter story.
Today, Sassy is a picture of happiness. To prove it, here are four photos taken during Black Saturday 2017.
*Photos by MetroPets Magazine
By ALMA J. BUELVA
THERE are still over 90 rehabilitated pit bulls at a shelter facility in Quezon province waiting to be adopted into loving homes. The dogs are part of the 266 pit bulls that CARA Welfare Philippines helped rescue from an infamous and brutal dog fighting syndicate back in March 2012.
Those who are interested to give the remaining pit bulls their permanent homes should coordinate with CARA by first visiting the helpsavethepitbulls.com website to know about the requirements for adopting a dog. Those who can't adopt but still wish to help may sign up as a volunteer or donate much-needed cash and items such as food and medicine.
Meanwhile, CARA continues with its latest fund-raising drive called “Give me 5” that seeks a minimum donation of P500 per person to cover the needs of one shelter animal and one Laguna Pitbull for one day. The animal welfare group estimates that each of their ward at least needs P250 a day for food, medicine, staff care and shelter.
Support CARA's “Give me 5” fund drive for kitties and pitties
CELEBRITY dog whisperer Cesar Milan is doing another round of search for new recruits that he could train as dog behaviorists.
In a new season of Cesar's Recruit: Asia, Milan will go through the process of screening new dog trainers from eligible applicants who will be part of the show.
To be considered, aspiring dog trainers in the Philippines and other parts of Asia should send their personal details and why they want to be chosen to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show organizers said anyone who lives in Asia and is of Asian descent can apply. Participants vying to be the next Pack Leader of Milan are required to be available for up to four days of filming during May/June 2017.
Last year, the reality TV named Ethan Loke, the sole Singaporean contestant, as Milan's first ever Asian Recruit.
Cesar's Recruit: Asia airs on National Geographic Channel. -- MetroPets
CAT LADIES celebrate! You've all met your #funstatic #squadgoals of being recognized in the Oxford English Dictionary as a real collective word or term.
The leading word authority recently added 300 words and terms that have lately become part of the youth's vocabulary. The millennials and others older or younger than them are no stranger to the term cat lady, thanks to the abundance of cat images on the Net.
Cat lady is defined by Oxford as a noun that pertains to an older woman who lives alone with a large number of cats, to which she is thought to be obsessively devoted.
For some, the term cat lady still has a bit of uncomplimentary sound to it, but there's been an improvement in perceptions as more people, including males, proudly proclaim their love for cats.
Also included in the Oxford word collection update are new words like funtastic and squadgoals with meanings that all cat ladies can surely relate to.
CARA Welfare Philippines is asking animal lovers and international welfare organizations to support its latest fund drive for the benefit of cats and dogs at its shelter and the Laguna Pitbulls.
The “Give me 5” campaign eyes a minimum donation of P500 per person which will cover the needs of one shelter animal and one Laguna Pitbull for one day. The animal welfare group estimates that each of their ward at least needs P250 a day for food, medicine, staff care and shelter.
Those who want to help out can deposit their donations via the following bank accounts. For transparency, donors are requested to provide CARA with a digital copy of the bank deposit slip reflecting their donations.
For kitty donations:
CARA Welfare Phils. Via BPI C/A 3191-0467-05
For Laguna Pitbulls donations:
CARA Welfare Phils. Via BPI C/A 3121-1984-86
A quick survey conducted by MetroPets to determine if Filipinos trust and like their veterinarians came back with a hugely favorable result for those who practice veterinary medicine.
Conducted last October 23 during a Halloween-themed gathering of pet lovers at SM Mall of Asia, the survey simply asked respondents if they like and trust their current veterinarian. The question was answerable by yes or no. Of the 118 respondents, only three claimed to be not so happy with their regular animal doctors.
The overwhelmingly positive result flies in the face of occasional disturbing accounts of bad medical care or service allegedly committed in pet clinics or hospitals, usually told by bereft pet owners. The survey, however, is far from conclusive given the small number of respondents who also didn't substantiate their answers.
Offhand, the survey gives an insight to the general state of relationship between pet owners and veterinarians, at least in Metro Manila where most respondents reside. – MetroPets
THOSE who played and still playing the highly addictive Neko Atsume Kitty Collector mobile game will be happy to know that a movie version is in the works.
A very short trailer of the forthcoming movie shows a Japanese guy whose life is about to be overrun by stray cats that come to his place uninvited. The film setting is very much the same like in the game. Fans should quickly recognize the Japanese garden where most cats loiter about and the tatami mats. The main character is seen shopping away online for furniture and items that lure the cats to his place.
Neko Atsume's movie adaptation is scheduled for release in Japan this April. It would be exciting to see what cats they have playing the role of Tubbs, Joe DiMeowgio, Mr. Meowgi and other fan favorites.
As of January 2017, Neko Atsume has been downloaded 5 million times on Android devices and has a high 4.6 rating. -- MetroPets
By ALMA J. BUELVA
IT is said that dead men tell no tales, but apparently dead dogs do especially when killed as part of a movie.
When the dog in the photo was allegedly killed to create one of the scenes in the movie ORO, the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) immediately asked for an investigation from the Metro Manila Film Festival. After initial meetings with the film body, PAWS said it will file criminal case against those who killed the dog and against the people who watched/filmed the crime as it was happening and did nothing to stop it.
"A screenshot of the dog that was killed in the MMFF movie ORO. The dog was put in a sack, beaten to death, skinned and gutted. Are the good reviews and awards the film got worth it at the cost of an an innocent creature's life?", asked PAWS which uploaded this photo on their official Facebook page.
ORO, one of the movies in the recent Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF), is about the interplay of politics and poverty to make life harder for struggling villagers who work in gold mines somewhere in Bicol province where supposedly a group called Patrol Kalikasan are known to eat dogs.
It is against this backdrop that the dog in the photo, according to PAWS, was “put in a sack, beaten to death, skinned and gutted” as part of the movie.
In a statement posted on the movie's Facebook page, ORO director Alvin Yapan denied ever killing a dog for the movie. He also said no actor would agree to kill a dog nor would he put any actor in that position.
In its official statement regarding the issue, PAWS reported that the filmmakers have reasoned that they only happened upon the dog's killing in the location they were filming. The animal rights and welfare group, however, challenged this by pointing out that a PAWS Board Member Rich Ilustre, a director himself, made the observation that using actual footage of dog killing and editing it seamlessly into a scene with actors is extremely difficult.
Don Michael Perez, a television and film writer and director, believes there could have been creative ways of mounting the contentious scene at no cost to the life of a poor dog.
“I think it's reprehensible. I hear the filmmakers wanted to show the brutality of dog killing paralleled with the disregard for human life depicted in the story but in the process they have disregarded the life of a sentient being while making the film...And by going for shock value the filmmakers displayed that they're just as heartless and brutal as the evil men in their film,” Perez told MetroPets.
Meanwhile, PAWS said they obtained a copy of the ORO script that showed that the graphic dog-killing segment was indeed part of the scene. PAWS also said that it was established that the ORO filmmakers lied to the MMFF Screening Committee by claiming that the dog was not harmed in the scene.
“During the inquiry, the filmmakers eventually admitted that the live dog shown at the start of the controversial scene and the dead dog being gutted is one and the same,” PAWS said.
PAWS has asked the MMFF Executive Committee to require the ORO filmmakers to submit the raw footages of the dog killing to help complete the ongoing investigation.
Killing an animal for dramatic purposes or entertainment is ethically reprehensible, PAWS said, stating that “The director, producer, crew, and (possibly) the actors and extras, violated the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) by procuring a dog for slaughter, and actually having it killed – whether by them directly or by some other people – for the movie.”
ANIMAL CRUELTY IS NOT ENTERTAINMENT
PAWS' request to have the ORO movie stripped of all awards it received and for the director and producers to be administratively sanctioned has so far resulted in the recall of the Fernando Poe Jr. Memorial Award granted to the film.
PAWS said that upon consultation with the family of the late Fernando Poe, Jr., the MMFF Executive Committee has decided to take back the said prestigious award as the dog's death had cast doubts on the movie's ability to exemplify the human and cultural values espoused by the late actor who is an icon in the local movie industry.
Meanwhile, PAWS said all members of the entertainment industry must uphold humane standards for the use of animals and to call out their colleagues when they commit acts of atrocities towards animals in the making of films and TV shows.
Director Perez, who owns Bengal Brew Cat Cafe and Wolf & Bear Dog Cafe, agrees with PAWS.
“As a fellow filmmaker and animal rights advocate I condemn this act in the strongest terms,” he said. “We should all make our voices heard to make sure something like this doesn't happen again. The recent MMFF was groundbreaking in many ways. Too bad this ORO controversy tarnished that,” Perez added.
*The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) or RA 8485, as amended by RA 10631 imposes a penalty of 2 years and 1 day to 3 years imprisonment, and/or a fine not exceeding P250,000 if the offense is committed by a person who makes business out of cruelty to an animal.
By ALMA J. BUELVA
IF dogs and cats and other animals could speak, they would demand a total ban on the use of firecrackers, especially on New Year's Day.
This is the key message that the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) together with other animal welfare groups and environmental organizations tried to impart by staging a peaceful and informative rally to encourage the public to refrain from using firecrackers that severely scare and affect animals.
Held on Dec. 28 inside the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City, the rally was joined by dogs of all sizes -- from Chihuahuas to Alaskan Malamutes -- who all demand one thing: a total ban on firecrackers.
Ana Cabrera of PAWS advised the public to secure their pets especially on New Year's Eve or at the height of the expected lighting of fireworks and firecrackers nationwide.
Deemed hazardous to the environment, fireworks and firecrackers pose danger not only to humans but to animals as well. Dogs and cats, with their acute sense of hearing, suffer from the heightened booming noises.
To help pets cope during the revelry, Cabrera said pet owners should try to exercise their pets early on Dec. 31 to spend their energies so they would be less fidgety and scared when the clock hits midnight. She also said it would help if pet owners would let all their pets inside the house, even for this special evening only, to protect them from the noise and dangers that pyrotechnics can cause.
"Create white noise by playing soothing music to help calm your pets," she added.
Cabrera lamented that stray animals suffer the most when people hazardously use firecrackers because they have no safe place to hide. Sadly, some people even purposely harm strays by throwing lit firecrackers at them, she added.
Representatives from the Animal Kingdom Foundation, CARA Welfare and the EcoWaste Coalition also joined the activity to drum up awareness on the ill effects of pyrotechnics to humans, animals and the environment.