Pet owners alarmed as dogs turn up dead in Iloilo village
By Nestor P. Burgos Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
2017-12-07 06:05:58

PAVIA, Iloilo — Shirley (not her real name) could not contain her grief when she woke up early morning of Nov. 9 to find her dogs — Buddy and Missy — dead, their mouth frothing at their fenced yard.

“I cried. They were my buddies and my companions when my husband goes to work. We tried hard to take good care of them and now this,” she said.

Later, she learned that her pets were among at least 15 dogs found dead at Monticello Villas in Barangay Balabag here early that morning, in what pet owners believed was part of a drive to rid the subdivision of stray dogs.

Pet owners, who spoke to the Inquirer on condition of anonymity due to concerns over possible retaliation, said they believed the subdivision’s security guards poisoned the dogs to eliminate strays.

“I confronted a guard about what happened,” said Loida (not her real name), who lost a Japanese spitz named Shen and two puppies, Shrek and Lazy. “He told me they were following orders.”

The guard also told her to talk to the “management” if she had complaints, she said.

When sought for comment, Pro-Friends, the subdivision developer, said it had taken steps to investigate the report.

“We assure the public that we have high regard for the integrity of all forms of life in our community and in this particular instance, we will in no way condone any form of cruelty to animals,” said Dina Estocado, Pro-Friends Iloilo general manager, in the first of two statements the company released after the Inquirer sought its reaction.

In another statement, the company identified three guards employed by a security agency as the people who poisoned the dogs. It said the guards “were doing it on their own because of the growing number of stray dogs in the village.”

Pro-Friends said the security guards had been removed from duty and their employment terminated. It also said the problem with stray dogs “does not justify the actions of the security guards.”

The owners of the dead dogs believed their pets were poisoned with pesticide.

Shirley said even if the poisoning was intended for stray dogs, her two dogs, which were secured inside their fenced yard all night, also died.

“We understand how it is to be a responsible pet owner. But even if some have left their dogs unleashed or let them out of their house, the pets should not be treated this way,” she said.

Except in certain instances like religious rituals or in cases when the animal has an incurable communicable disease, among others, the killing of “any animal other than cattle, pigs, goats, sheep, poultry, rabbits, carabao, horse, deer and crocodiles” is illegal, she said, citing the Animal Welfare Act.

But the law said authorized killing should be done “through humane procedures at all times.” Violators face imprisonment of two years and/or a fine of not over P100,000.

Pavia Mayor Michael Gorriceta said he had directed the municipal agriculture office to investigate the dog deaths.

“The suspected poisoning happened at night so there was intent to hide it,” he said.

Pavia, like many towns, does not have a dog impound for stray and unattended dogs.

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