NEWS & FEATURES
Have you heard the woofest mews?
Have you heard the woofest mews?
THE Philippines has successfully convicted a dog killer, a historic first.
The news was shared by the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) which helped attain justice for the dog killed by Roberto Olivar from Caloocan City. The decision came last June 14, 2018, with Olivar convicted for violating the Animal Welfare Act. He spent some time in prison and was fined P5,000.
According to PAWS, Olivar was filmed killing his own dog and then feeding it to his other dog. The person who filmed the crime and uploaded it on Facebook was not involved in filing criminal charges, but concerned citizen Emma Manalili did. She saw the video and, accompanied by local police, immediately located Olivar's place. She later testified for the Prosecution.
Part of the Facebook video below was played in court and elicited stifled gasps from the stenographer and other members of Caloocan MTC No. 52, PAWS said.
PAWS added that during the promulgation, Honorable Judge Dorothy Grace Daguna-Inciong warned Olivar sternly that should he be reported for dog-killing again, she would make sure that he will be given the maximum prison term for violation of the Animal Welfare Act.
“I have three dogs myself and I love them. This act that you did is despicable and I hope you know that this is wrong and should never happen again,” the judge was quoted saying.
Animal cruelty is a crime under the Animal Welfare Act of the Philippines (RA8485 as amended by RA 10631). Those witnessing animal cruelty should report it to the police first, before taking photos and videos that can be shared in social media later.
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.
THE People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Asia is offering up to P50,000 reward for information that could help find the person or group that killed innocent cats from Dasmariñas Village in Makati City.
On Jan. 13, a dozen community cats from the posh village went missing and some were found dead, apparently from unnatural causes. In a circular released by the village management, one cat was reported to have died from chemical burns after paint thinner was poured over him.
The community cats in Dasmariñas Village have been spayed and neutered through CARA Welfare's Trap-Neuter-Return program and are fed by residents of the village. Before the cats' disappearance and deaths, a note was found saying: “You stop feeding cats. Our village is no cat sanctuary. Or else...”
The management and security of Dasmariñas Village are looking into the barbaric series of crimes against the cats, but so far no suspects have been identified.
"It's imperative that any community faced with a violent act such as the vicious killing of the community cats of Dasmariñas Village take measures to find the culprit or culprits and bring them to justice," says PETA Asia Vice President for International Operations Jason Baker. "Animal abusers are a danger to everyone: They take their issues out on whomever is available to them, human or nonhuman, and must be caught before they act again. We're appealing to anyone with information about those responsible for these cruel crimes to come forward now so that the perpetrator or perpetrators can be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
PETA hopes to bring the person or persons responsible for the cats' deaths and disappearances to justice. Aggravated cruelty to animals carries a penalty of up to P250,000 and three years imprisonment under the Animal Welfare Act of 1998 as amended by Republic Act No. 10631.
Anyone with information about this case is encouraged to call the PETA Asia hotline at 0999-888-7382.
THE man from Cotabato City recently filmed repeatedly slamming a puppy against a concrete wall and smashing a bottle on its head has gone into hiding.
The video went viral after it was shared by a minor who owns the puppy. Scared to stop the dog's tormentor, the child secretly filmed the incident which became a strong evidence in filing this yet another case of animal cruelty.
The Philippine Animal Lovers Society (PALS) reported that the animal abuser, one Rodolfo “Opong” Serguino, went hiding after PAL's founder, Mirriam Bengil, spoke in GMA TV News last January 10 about the case and its possible penalties under Philippine law.
The good news is, PALS also visited Barangay Presbitero in the said province where the incident happened and confirmed that the dog, now called “Presby”, is still alive contrary to reports that it perished after being attacked by Serguino, a neighbor of Presby's owner.
PALS members and officers were skeptical at first, but witnesses who gave their testimonies confirmed that the dog survived the attack. Apparently, the dog was unconscious for three hours straight and when people decided to bury him, Presby woke up and coughed blood, PALS said.
According to a veterinarian from Animal Solution Vet Hospital in Davao, Presby survived his ordeal and didn't suffer from internal bleeding because he was able to expel his blood. Presby's body is still sore and his face swollen, but the puppy has a strong will to survive and is now eating.
The mother of the minor who owns Presby has filed an affidavit and PALS will file a case against Serguino.
Presby is now being fostered by a PALS rescuer and member named “Anya”. The group said they will seek justice for Presby even if it takes long now that his assailant is in hiding.
DOGS in the country, especially the native Aspins, have reason to be hopeful this year as government agencies and partner institutions fighting the illegal trading of dog meat are hoping to have the national plan of action finalized early this year.
Launched last September, the National Plan of Action (NAPOA) to Eliminate the Trade of Dogs for Meat aims for a complete end to the nefarious dog meat trading which not only victimizes dogs but also endangers public health.
One of its immediate impacts would be on the apprehending and filing of cases against violators. The penalties will be based on the provision of the Animal Welfare Law which include a fine of up to P250,000 and six years imprisonment.
Armelo Mauro, training officer at the Animal Health and Welfare Division of the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Animal Industry, told MetroPets that that plan's Implementing Rules and Regulations are now at the committee level for finalization.
He said, they have statistics that show a decline in dog meat trading around the country last year, thanks mainly to the efforts of NGOs who are at the forefront of the campaign against hot meat.
Mauro said they are also proactively informing the public about the dangers of eating hot meat from dogs, cats, deer and wild boar because these likely carry deadly bacteria and other contaminants.
Meanwhile, Mauro advises concerned citizens to photograph or film those who slaughter dogs and report them to the police and file an affidavit at the prosecution office.
AN online petition over at Change.org has rapidly triggered an outpouring of public support from here and abrod for the sake of the dogs woefully impounded in Boracay, Philippines' internationally acclaimed tourist paradise.
Started a week ago by Ted Teodoro, the petition calls on Boracay Mayor Johnny Yap to stop the cruel treatment of the island's homeless animals, particularly dogs, starting with a recall of his recent policy that disregards animal welfare and rights.
“Using rabies as an excuse, the Mayor and (his) council have unleashed cruel and poorly trained dog catchers upon the stray dogs. Once caught, dogs are confined to the notorious dog pound where they receive no care, water nor food. The dogs experience no form of human kindness,” said Teodoro in his message to online petitioners.
“We obtained firsthand reports corroborating these unacceptable conditions. As the practice goes, the dog catchers intimidate the locals, coercing them to pay higher reclaim fees and thus increasing the dog catchers' income. Some fortunate dogs are nevertheless claimed by their human companions. But, most dogs remain unclaimed because they are homeless or their humans cannot afford the inflated fees,” Teodoro added.
Nearly 7,000 signatures were submitted as of February 25 that show support for Teodoro's petition. Teodoro warned of the bad effects to Boracay's tourism industry and public image when visitors, especially foreigners, learn about the deplorable practices at the island's dog pound.
“Abusing animals will lead to a loss of income and respectability for Boracay. The town will acquire a reputation for hideous animal cruelty and tourism will decline,” he said.
Teodoro also said the animal welfare group Aklan Animal Rescue & Rehabilitation Center in Kalibo has already contacted local travel agencies that serve Boracay to inform them about the situation and explain its probable effect to their business. The group hopes travel tours will support the petition to avoid further damage to Boracay's image.
The snowballing public support as evidenced by the number of those that have digitally signed the petition has so far helped the group to possibly have a meeting with Yap. Teodoro said they will not terminate the online petition even after the target number of signatures are met as the dogs are counting on more people to sign up and demand humane treatment on their behalf.
Teodoro, in his petition, also pointed out that the cruel and inhumane conditions in Boracay's dog pound violate Republic Act (RA) 8485 or “The Animal Welfare Act” and its amendment RA 10631.
“Municipal dog pounds fall under these laws. Republic Act 9482 mandates the role of a Local Government Unit on population control and recognizes the provisions of RA 8485. Therefore, the Mayor is legally required to uphold animal welfare,” he added.
* Laika and Felicette, pioneer pet astronauts