NEWS & FEATURES
Have you heard the woofest mews?
Have you heard the woofest mews?
THE New Year celebrations bring the good and the bad. The good that comes with having a fresh start is marked by a lot of noise which is harmful to animals.
Dogs and cats with their acute sense of hearing suffer from “acoustical violence” from fireworks and other devices people use to create loud noise to usher the new year.
Once again, the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) and the EcoWaste Coalition are appealing to the public to consider the safety of animals, especially the strays, and try to shield them from air and noise pollution and the high possibility of getting hurt when hit by firecrackers.
“Our four-legged friends, particularly cats and dogs, suffer in silence as firecrackers and fireworks of varying intensity are ignited in the belief that such practice can shoo away bad luck and pull in good energy and fortune,” said Anna Cabrera, executive director of PAWS, said.
Echoing Cabrera's appeal is Aileen Lucero, coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition, who cited that fireworks and firecrackers have negative impact on human and animal health, not to mention the environment.
Cabrera said pets get scared of the loud noise and, as a result, suffer from "appetite loss, upset stomach and confused sense of direction making animals to go astray or get injured.”
To have a peaceful and safe celebration, PAWS and EcoWaste suggested the following pointers:
* Persuade members of your household to make your home a “no firecracker” zone.
* Politely tell your neighbors not to light or throw firecrackers near your home.
* Exercise your pets during the days leading up to the New Year’s Eve and in the next morning when the festivities are over and the smoke has cleared.
* Give your pets a physical outlet for their pent up energy due to arousal and stress.
* Manage the environment so it is as relaxing as possible and as less stressful as you can make it.
* Provide your pet with a safe place to take temporary refuge. If possible, allow your pet to stay in a quiet room such as a bedroom.
* Close the windows, put the curtains down and play a relaxing music to neutralize the noise from the outside to help your pets feel secure.
* Ensure your pet’s access to drinking water. Make her/him pee or poo.
* Do not yell or laugh at your pet when she/he is cowering or shaking in fear. This is a natural response to a threat that they do not understand and cannot avoid.
The groups also reminded pet owners to keep shopping bags, cleaning solutions, tobacco products out of pets' reach. In addition, pets should not be fed holiday treats such as chocolate, fruit cake, nuts and alcoholic drinks.
IN Chengdu, the capital of southwestern China's Sichuan province, one dog survived a boiling water attack and a drop from a high-rise balcony onto concrete after he innocently chewed on his former owner's cell phone.
Tuffy, who survived months of treatment at Animal Asia's China sanctuary, now lives with his rescuer, 30-year-old designer Yan Yingying who found the dying puppy at the bottom of the apartment building.
“The sight must have been so horrific – and I’m sure many people would have walked past and pretended not to see. But she didn’t. She took Tuffy to a local vet in Chengdu and paid for all his veterinary care. That saved his life,” said Animals Asia vet Emily Drayton in an article about Tuffy featured in Animal Asia's website.
The violence and cruelty the puppy received would have killed most people. When the burns cover over 50 percent of the body, animals are not expected to survive. Sixty percent of Tuffy's body was scalded but his fighting spirit and the kindness of Yan and animal workers helped him cheat death.
Yan sought the help of Animals Asia after getting substandard care for Tuffy at the veterinary clinic. Aside from being under tremendous pain, Tuffy could not close his eyes to sleep as the burned skin around his eyes fused together. The same thing happened with his legs.
Animals Asia is best known for rescuing bears in the most unimaginable condition from the bear bile trade. But there's no way they could turn down “a tiny naked pup, with a red raw body that looked like a huge blister, looking out at the world with the misery of an animal who couldn’t understand why he had been punished with pain,” said Jill Robinson, founder of Animals Asia.
Drayton added: “As a vet you are exposed to cases of animal cruelty and neglect. It is never something you get ‘used to’ – but after a while you can become desensitized. You learn to put your emotions aside and focus on what you need to do to help. But when I saw Tuffy all of that was completely obliterated. I was shocked and sickened to my core. I could not stop the tears from rising, there was no point. Never had I seen an animal in so much pain.”
Seeing how Tuffy was bravely fighting for his life, animal experts decided the dog deserves a second chance and would not be put down. They also decided that he deserves a good name.
“A tough puppy needed a tough name, so then he became our beloved Tuffy.” said Mandala Hunter-Ishikawa, also a vet at Animals Asia.
Tuffy received free topnotch care from experts like Dr. Kieren Maddern, of Veterinary Anaesthesia and Pain Management Consultants who shared ideas on wound care and pain management for Tuffy. Dr Alane Cahalane, a specialist surgeon from the Veterinary Specialty Hospital in Hong Kong, flew in for one day to operate and release Tuffy's fused legs and eyes.
Little by little, Tuffy got stronger although he was under pain medication and on bandages for months. Volunteers cleaned his wounds routinely and though it hurts him, Tuffy's healing soon helped him deal with pain and discomfort with the help of distracting snacks.
With his recovery full, Tuffy was released to his new owner, Ms. Yan, who stayed with the dog through it all.
“In the beginning of Tuffy’s time with us, his head was the only place you could touch him without causing pain. Ms Yan would cradle his small face in her hand and coo ‘guai guai’ (an affectionate term for good), and he would wag his bald little tail and close his eyes,” said Hunter-Ishikawa.
GOOD TRUMPS EVIL
Animals Asia people believe Tuffy's story, though it started as one about cruelty, is more about kindness and love.
“Time and time again we find that those who are cruel to animals are a tiny minority. Animals have the ability to bring out the best in people, and it’s true for Tuffy. His strength and bravery was incredible – but Ms Yan was equally determined he would live,” said Drayton.
Tuffy also showed everyone what a heart of a dog is made of: brave and full of love. Despite his ordeal, Tuffy still sees the good in people and is happy to be loved.
Meanwhile, Yan has found a way to hide Tuffy's large bald patches and scars by making special coats for him.
Animals Asia Cat and Dog Welfare Team hopes Tuffy's story can inspire a better future for millions of dogs. The group accepts donations to help them end animal cruelty.
Watch Tuffy's story video here.
THE People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is appealing to professional boxer Floyd Mayweather to turn over his "pet" tiger to a sanctuary instead of keeping and caging it in his home.
The boxer posted in his Instagram account his photo with a two-month-old tiger from India, which he supposedly received as an early Christmas present while he was in Russia. Mayweather asked his Instagram followers to suggest a name for his new "pet".
Animal rights advocates and wildlife conservationists, however, saw a high possibility of a bad future for the tiger, even in the home of a rich athlete. PETA released the following statement to make this point:
"Mayweather can have anything he wants, and what he should want is an end to the wild-animal trade, not to be a facilitator of it. Tigers do poorly as “pets” – they belong in their native habitats, not in a cage in a celebrity’s home as a “show-off” prop, 100 percent certain to be discarded at a roadside zoo or a cheap circus or to meet some other tawdry end after they become too strong to handle and begin to show a will of their own.
"Wild animals kept as amusements never have a fighting chance at a natural life. Having been torn away from their mothers at a young age, many are violently beaten by trainers and all are deprived of what’s natural and important to them. PETA appeals to Floyd Mayweather to be a real champ for animals and allow his “Christmas present” to be moved to a wildlife sanctuary."
According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), wild tiger numbers are at an all-time low, with 97 percent of them gone now, in just over a century. "Tigers may be one of the most revered animals, but they are also vulnerable to extinction. As few as 3,200 exist in the wild today," said the WWF.
THE Animal Health and Welfare Division of the Bureau of Animal Industry is encouraging present and future operators of cat cafes to secure the necessary BAI permit to operate.
In an interview with MetroPets, Armelo Mauro of the Animal Health and Welfare Division said only two cat cafes – Velvet Friends Cat Cafe in Pasay City and Miao Cat Cafe on Congressional Avenue in Quezon City – have been issued permits after meeting all the requirements set for an animal facility.
Mauro said they are now processing the permits of Cat Cafe Manila and Uchi No Neko Cat Cafe. There are eight cat cafes in the country today, with seven located in Metro Manila and only one in Cebu.
Aside from cat cafes, the BAI also requires dog cafes, catteries and kennels to undergo BAI inspection prior to the issuance of a permit. Mauro said they have also issued permits to Barkin' Blends Dog Cafe and Bonnevie Cattery.
To get a BAI permit, an animal facility must comply with the country's animal welfare regulations, must submit proper business papers, must show location plan and specifications to prove that it is conducive to animals and must appoint a licensed veterinarian (contracted or on call) who would regularly check on the animals' health, among others.
Mauro said they also particularly want to ensure that the cats are not getting exhausted due to constant exposure to cafe visitors.
“They must provide for the animals' needs and make sure the cats are not stressed especially by being constantly carried by different people,” he added.
Mauro said they are not strict with current cat cafe operators that have opened shops without permits, but they strongly encourage them to register with the Animal Health and Welfare Division and be inspected and evaluated to see if they meet the government's standard.
If after one year an animal facility fails to comply, Mauro said they could be stricter the next time the operator needs to ship animals.
The BAI charges cat cafes P300 for registration, renewable annually. He said they plan to revisit Velvet Friends Cat Cafe because it wasn't completely constructed the first time they visited.
“We will be more strict during renewal of permits,” Mauro warned. “We want cat cafes to make sure that they meet all our recommendations during our first inspection or we won't renew their registration.”
For cat cafes and other animal facility outside Metro Manila, Mauro said the BAI has regional offices and focal persons to conduct the inspection.
The eight cat cafes in the country are:
* Cat Cafe Philippines in Cebu City
* Cat Cafe Manila in Maginhawa, Quezon City
* Miao Cat Cafe in Congressional Ave., Quezon City
* Gilmore Cat Cafe in Gilmore, Quezon City
* Velvet Friends Cat Cafe in Pasay City
* Le Cat Cafe in Paranaque City
* Bengal Cat Cafe in Cubao, Quezon City
* Uchi No Neko in Katipunan, Quezon City
* LTFRB says pets can now ride public transport