NEWS & FEATURES
Have you heard the woofest mews?
Have you heard the woofest mews?
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.
A NEW case of animal cruelty was recently filmed and uploaded on Facebook by the perpetrators, and then was shared by a concerned citizen last Feb. 12. It showed a teenage boy who repeatedly stoned and then peed on a tiny kitten until it died.
The video, which lasted almost two minutes, was shared by a certain Nina Scarlet who identified the kitten's killer as Raymark Lansangan who was wearing a school uniform when the incident happened. In the video, another school boy was seen squatting near the kitten while another person hidden from view took the video.
After much prodding from Facebook users, Nina identified the two other persons in the video as Benedic Daquioag and the one who filmed the ghastly act as Dharyl Rivera. She said Lansangan is from Antipolo, Rizal.
In the video, Lansangan hurled rocks and pissed on a crying, bloodied kitten until it died. All along, Lansangan was laughing while his companions did nothing to stop him. At one point, both his companions warned him that he could go to jail if the video becomes viral, but that didn't stop them from what they're doing.
The video immediately created a social media firestorm with hundreds of animal lovers deploring the savage way the kitten was killed. Curses and threats were directed to all those party to the slaying, while others shared the link with animal welfare groups and media outlets, demanding justice for the young cat. Others threaten to report the students to their school for disciplinary action.
Nina said she knows those people in the video who, she added, cut classes that day.
At one point, Dharyl Rivera who allegedly took the video joined the long thread of messages in Facebook and said this:
He also issued this threat to the reporter:
As of this posting, comments from animal lovers continue to pour in at different Facebook groups, all asking for one thing: justice for the “Antipolo kitty”. (AJB, MetroPets)
THE lead guitarist of The Vamps, James McVey, who recently visited Manila is the latest celebrity to join the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in its “Save a Life: Adopt—Don't Shop!” campaign.
McVey who loves both dogs and cats were featured with kittens in the PETA ad. The image of him with kittens was shot by top celebrity photographer Ruth Rose.
"There are millions of animals already in shelters—kittens, puppies, dogs, a variety of animals," says McVey. "So go to a shelter, adopt, and save a life!"
PETA said that every year, hundreds of thousands of dogs and cats end up in animal shelters, and many are euthanized when nobody adopts them. There are also many strays that just die on the streets. Shelter and stray animals' chances of finding a home grow smaller when people opt to buy a pet instead, the group added.
McVey and PETA aim to encourage those who want a pet to first visit a local shelter or rescue group.
McVey joins a long list of musicians like Little Mix, P!nk, Cody Simpson and Kesha who have teamed up with PETA and its affiliates to promote kindness to animals.
For more information, please visit PETAAsia.com
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.
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 controversial Ordinance 2386 that set a four-pet limit per household in Quezon City will be repealed for good and it would be on the amended Veterinary Code.
This is the promise made by Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte when she met with representatives of animal welfare groups who staged a protest rally in front of the City Hall two days ago to protest the four-pet limit.
In the meeting, Belmonte also allowed animal welfare groups to give their inputs that would craft the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Veterinary Code.
Anna Cabrera, executive director of the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), said PAWS was also offered a chance to play a pivotal role in improving the management of the Quezon City pound and in pushing for animal welfare initiatives in many aspects of the city’s operations – from animal control to public health and education.
PAWS is a non-government organization with headquarters in Quezon City.
PAWS will announce the details of its partnership with the Quezon City government and put out the black-and-white repeal of Ordinance 2386 as soon as it is available.
* One stormy afternoon at Taiwan's Houtong Cat Village