December 6, 2022

The city council is set to amend the implementing rules and regulations of the Responsible Dog Ownership Ordinance of Baguio City in a bid to further improve the management of impounded dogs and responsible pet ownership and adoption.

The city council will work in close coordination with the City Veterinary and Agriculture Office (CVAO) in the crafting of the amendments and is planning to work with accredited animal welfare groups to help address complaints on alleged inhumane treatment and mishandling of impounded dogs.

In the regular council session on Nov. 29 attended by Asst. Veterinarian Silardo Bested and Lovely Tuazon representing the dog animal community in the city, proposed amendments to be led by the committee of Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda include allowing the taking of photos by accredited private animal groups subject to conditions and guidelines that the CVAO will prepare; requiring animal welfare groups to whom unclaimed healthy dogs are to be turned over for adoption to apply for accreditation with the city government and Bureau of Animal Industry; and crafting of a memorandum of agreement between the animal welfare group and CVAO and for the latter to draft the terms and conditions to be presented in a dialogue with the concerned group.

The CVAO will also be tasked to prepare a project proposal detailing the budgetary requirement for the improvement of the city’s impounding facility.

The CVAO shall also post pictures of impounded dogs at least twice a week in its social media account to allow owners to recognize and claim their pets if these were impounded or for those interested to adopt unclaimed dogs.

Tuazon’s group has committed to donate a CCTV surveillance camera to the CVAO for monitoring purposes and the same shall be under the control and direction of the CVAO.   

Tuazon stressed the need for the government agency to take care of dogs kept in the pound because it is part of its mandate and that it should have a process in properly handling them, have them returned to their owners, or see to it they are adopted.

Some pet owners claim there were incidents of impounded dogs with breed that were lost or not returned to the owners, they were not sufficiently fed and given drinking water, and become sick while being impounded.

Vice Mayor Faustino Olowan said while the CVAO has guidelines on the impounding of dogs, there seems to be a problem in its management because there are complaints of mishandling.

He said the city has to improve the facilities, the food given to impounded dogs, and there must be policies to be followed such as allowing owners to claim their lost pets, pay the necessary fees, and bring them home in good condition.

“In some areas, they even have an adoption center where dogs and other pets are respected. It should not be ‘hulihin mo at bahala na kung mahanap sila ng may-ari,’ which is the sentiment of the dog lovers, to whom the lives of pets are important. So, we hope the CVAO consider this because lahat sila nagrereklamo sa patakaran natin,” Olowan said.

Bested said CVAO has always been promoting responsible pet ownership but committed to work on the concerns raised and partner with animal welfare groups to improve pet management and processes subject to the guidelines provided by the ordinance and existing laws. – Hanna C. Lacsamana