By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima expressed outrage over
recent reports showing how impounded dogs had gone unfed, with some
left to die, inside a dog pound in Asturias, Cebu.
In a statement, De Lima, an animal lover, said she hopes the recent
incident will prompt her colleagues to help push for the swift passage
of her Proposed Senate Bill (SB) No. 1918, or the “Revised Animal
Welfare Act of 2000”, which seeks to impose stiffer penalties for
crimes involving animal abuse and negligence and to establish the five
basic freedoms of animals.
These include (1) Freedom from hunger and thirst; (2) Freedom from
discomfort; (3) Freedom from pain, injury or disease; (4) Freedom to
express normal behavior; and (5) Freedom from fear and distress.
“Dogs, considered to be man’s best friend, do not deserve this kind
of cruelty and suffering. The individuals running the dog pound in
Cebu should be held accountable for this kind of neglect,” she said.
“After witnessing this inhumane treatment of dogs, should we be more
persistent in putting weight on the law by imposing stiffer penalties
on individuals who subject innocent animals to cruelty, abuse or
neglect, and making clear the rights of animals in our society,” she
Recently, a video showing impounded dogs left unfed inside a pound in
Asturias, Cebu went viral, resulting to concerned citizens and groups
rescuing the impounded dogs.
According to a 24 Oras report, the municipal government of Asturias
started impounding stray dogs in September following the
implementation of an ordinance. Authorities found at least three dogs
dead inside the pound.
“Anong klaseng pagkatao at pagtrato ang maglalagay sa mga aso sa dog
pound at pababayaan lang silang magdusa’t mamatay? As I’ve always
said, dogs, like humans, need love and affection from us. Their needs
should never be overlooked,” she said.
De Lima further reminded pet owners to be responsible fur-parents,
maintaining that one should not get dogs if he is not capable of
taking care of these animals.
“Ang pagkakaroon ng alagang aso ay parang pagkakaroon na din ng
inaarugang anak. Kaya dapat siguraduhing kakayanin ang responsibilidad
bago mag-alaga ng aso. Hindi sila parang laruan na kapag napagsawaan
na ay iiwanan na lamang,” she said.
Under SB No. 1918, an Animal Welfare Bureau is mandated to fulfill
their functions to protect animals including, among others,
implementing a system for inspection of animal facilities to ensure
compliance with animal welfare standards and regulations, promulgating
guidelines for the humane slaughter of animals.
The Bureau is also mandated to provide minimum standards on the
appropriate food, water, and shelter for each species of pet and
animals depending on the age, breed, size, and special needs thereof.
In filing the measure, De Lima likewise proposed that any person who
subjects any animal to cruelty, torture, maltreatment or any of the
prohibited acts will be punished with a penalty of six months
imprisonment and a fine of a minimum fine of Thirty Thousand Pesos
She also stressed under SB No. 1918 that operating an animal facility
including any animal transport facility, without the required permit
shall be punished with a penalty of one year imprisonment and a fine
of One Hundred Thousand Pesos (₱100,000). (AI/MTVN)