September 28, 2023

Unclaimed healthy dogs at the city pound may now be turned over to animal welfare groups for adoption or fostering.

This is one of the amendments to the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Responsible Dog Ownership Ordinance (Ordinance 19-2021) introduced by Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda and approved by the Baguio city council.

The turning over of healthy and unclaimed dogs to animal welfare groups shall be allowed provided that the groups are accredited by the city government and the Department of Agriculture.

A memorandum of agreement shall be executed between the animal welfare group and the city government upon the recommendation of the City Veterinary and Agriculture Office (CVAO).

The MOA shall include the following provisions:

That the turned over dogs shall be treated in accordance with Republic Act 8485 or The Animal Welfare Act of 1998; a monthly report shall be submitted to the CVAO on the status of the turned over dogs; turned over dogs shall not be used for financial gain such as solicitation and sale; and any violation of the terms and conditions shall result in the nullification of the MOA.

To ensure the public is constantly informed about the dogs that are up for adoption, the council also included an amendment compelling the CVAO to post pictures of impounded dogs on its official Facebook page at least twice a week. Private individuals who desire to take pictures or videos of impounded dogs should first ask for permission from the CVAO, subject to guidelines to be formulated by the CVAO.

This is aligned with Section 23 of the ordinance which states that “widest dissemination for dogs available for adoption shall be utilized with the assistance of accredited animal welfare non-government organizations, when feasible.”

These amendments were prompted by the comments and suggestions from various animal welfare groups in the city.

Earlier, Lovely Tuazon, a representative of animal welfare groups in the city, complained to the city council about how seldom the CVAO posts on its official Facebook page pictures of impounded dogs that need to be claimed by their owners and those that are up for adoption over the past months.

Tuazon emphasized the urgency of posting pictures of these impounded dogs on social media at the soonest possible time so that they will be claimed by their owners right away and those with health problems that are up for adoption will be provided prompt and appropriate treatment.

She also questioned the CVAO’s policy which restricts private individuals from taking pictures of impounded dogs.

She said private individuals are very much willing to help expedite the impounded dogs’ adoption process or their safe return to their owners by posting the dogs’ pictures on social media platforms.

She added animal advocates are against dog euthanasia, which is one of the manners of disposal of impounded dogs that are not claimed within three days as stipulated in the Responsible Dog Ownership Ordinance in accordance with the Animal Welfare Act of 1998. – Jordan G. Habbiling