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.
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.
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.
THE Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) is strongly against the new Quezon City Ordinance No. 2386 that limits every household in the city from having more than four pets.
To register its opposition, PAWS has called on animal lovers to participate in a silent protest in front of the QC Municipal Building on April 15, 9:30 a.m. and has issued an official statement deploring the provisions of what it believes is an anti-pet policy.
Ordinance No. 2386, by councilors Jessica Castelo Daza and Raquel Malañgen, calls for comprehensive animal regulation and control in Quezon City mainly for health reasons. A report from the Philippine Daily Inquirer said Mayor Herbert Bautista is yet to sign it for implementation, but PAWS said it was already signed and approved by Bautista last March 13, 2015. The ordinance was released to the press last April 8 by the City’s Public Administration and Information Service Office (PAISO).
Responsible pet owners from and outside Quezon City are also equally appalled by the said ordinance and many took the news with much disdain for the two councilors who authored the ordinance.
Judging by comments online, the general public opinion questions the lack of consultation with those who would be affected (and there are many) and the justification and the real intent of what many see as anti-pet policy. More importantly, pet lovers are raising the alarm against possible animal rights abuse that the new ordinance could invite.
Ordinance No. 2386 combines two old pet-related ordinances on registration, vaccination and tagging and stray animals. If signed by Bautista, Daza and Malañgen's brainchild would obligate Quezon City residents to do the following:
* Pay P500 for special permit to keep more than four pets.
* Pay P200 registration fee with the city veterinarian for each pet three months old and above.
* Pay for vaccinations, anti-rabies shots before pets registration.
* Pay a fine of up to P2,000 for repeated violation.
* Have pets confiscated and permits revoked by the city government.
* Have a pets area measuring at least 12 to 24 square feet.
* Fish and birds kept as pets can number up to 30.
PAWS has thumbed down the four-pet rule in Quezon City with Anna Cabrera, PAWS Executive Director, saying that the authors and the approving authorities of Ordinance 2386 "did little in terms of getting proper and sufficient information on dog behavior before putting out this ordinance.”
PAWS statement reads: "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.
"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."
PAWS said they tried to contact the Office of the QC Mayor on April 14 for an urgent meeting on the issue to no avail. PAWS cited a source who claimed that the Vice Mayor, City Veterinarian and Councilor Daza released a new statement to the press that the “pet restriction ordinance is effectively repealed.” Instead a newer ordinance -- the 'veterinary code’, that does not have the pet restriction, will “supersede the older one”.
PAWS said the new veterinary code is seemingly the officials’ way of sweeping the issue under the rug to quell any public protest about the controversial ordinance.
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.
Most comments online find the P500 questionable and likened it to a quick money-making scheme by the local government. They also ask the officials why they would single out household pets while the city faces so many other pressing social issues and problems.
At least one public personality, actress Heart Evangelista, came out in her Instagram account to oppose it. The wife of Sen. Chiz Escudero said the ordinance seems to promote “dog/cat lovers to abandon their dogs no matter what age and how long they have had the dog/cat in their home. Pet abandonment is a crime under amended AWA (Animal Welfare Act). If people are imposed penalties or fees for having more than four pets…this may increase the incidence of pet abandonments.”
A PAWS spokesperson, Heart owns pets, including some Aspins (Asong Pinoy). She said PAWS was not informed nor consulted before the ordinance was passed.
She also said in her Instagram post that “There are many animal lovers that will be affected negatively by this ordinance because they are currently keeping more than 4 pets and a lot of them aren’t breeders or businessmen but people with kind hearts who took in a homeless stray.”
* Laika and Felicette, pioneer pet astronauts