DAVAO CITY – Only twenty to thirty percent of stray dogs snared daily are redeemed by their owners, said the Animal Control Unit of the Office of the City Veterinarian.
“The unit is able to capture 40 to 50 stray dogs per day but only 20-30% of them are redeemed by pet owners,” said Dr. Cerelyn Pinili, head of the unit.
Pinili said dogs are taken to the City Pound in Maa, four kilometers west of downtown, and if not “redeemed” after three days, are subjected to euthanasia or mercy killing.
City Ordinance No. 1457, which states the city regulation on stray animals, required owners to pay P250 for the first day and an addition of P50 per day as impounding fee of each dog. This will offset the budget of the Office of the City Veterianarian, which allots only P200,000 per year.
“The budget fits,” said Pinili.
Asked if pet advocate organizations have approached their office for possible adoption of the unredeemed dogs, Pinili said there has been none.
The unredeemed dogs are eventually subjected to euthanasia, or mercy killing, Pinili said, citing a provision of the ordinance that allowed the action.
“We don’t have an adoption ordinance yet. But, we also discourage adoption because the captured stray dogs are already mature and untamable,” she said.
Pinili said she only knew of one dog in the pound that was found infected with rabies.
“We periodically subject some dogs to brain inspection as part of our monitoring, but so far there has only been one. However, the development of the virus (rabies) could take six months, even making it difficult for adoption,” she said.
Pinili asked for the public’s understanding on how their office has been performing in capturing stray dogs.
“We only have one vehicle as the other is undergoing repairs,” she said.
Pinili said that in order to add another team to the unit, the office has to employ one more driver, four more dog catchers and buy one more vehicle. This is an additional expense that she said she can not estimate for the moment.
“Their eight-hour duty starts at 4:00 am and ends at 12 noon but you have to actually see how difficult it is to chase stray dogs,” she said.
Pinili said the total number of pet dogs in the city in 2013 reached 119,714. Of this number, they have immunized 70,956 served 41,915 clients.
For the period January to March this year, Pinili said that they have immunized 16,249 dogs and 9,541 pet owners.
The Department of Health XI has recorded 14 rabies fatalities in the city from 2010 to 2012 and 10,000 animal bites in 2013.
In time for the Rabies Awareness Month, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has appealed to the public to attend to their pets to minimize the spread of rabies in the City. (John Rizle L. Saligumba/davaotoday.com)