BY FREDA MAE SORSANO
ILOILO City – For a “highly-urbanized city,” this southern metropolis is a failure when it comes to animal protection.
So believes an animal welfare’s group here, alarmed over reports that unclaimed stray dogs are killed every Friday because the city lacks funds for proper animal housing.
“We received messages from concerned citizens in our Facebook page,” said Anna Marie Grace Rivera Wharton, head of the Animal Welfare Association (AWA)-Iloilo. “We don’t like the way we handle stray dogs here.”
The city has no animal pound where abandoned animals can be kept prior to adoption. It is left with no choice but to kill them.
“This is definitely unacceptable,” said Wharton.
Her association finds it sad that one of the city’s ways to implement its beautification program is to kill the strays.
AWA-Iloilo urged the city to have a decent animal pound.
Impounded dogs are being kept in the Motor Pool, Luis Buenaflor Jr. once wrote in an article in Panay News. He described Iloilo City’s temporary dog pound as a “dirty corner of a dilapidated warehouse that houses junk and discarded vehicles.”
The city recently passed an ordinance, proposed by Councilor Jose Ephraim “Jay” Treñas, calling for the creation of an animal pound.
AWA-Iloilo had been notified of it, and is welcoming this development.
The group has also notified Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog of its concerns.
“The mayor has responded well to our request. We hope they will hasten the implementation for the good of our animals,” said Wharton.
The private sector is willing to work with the city government, she added.
AWA-Iloilo has also been calling the city veterinarian office to coordinate on projects for animals.
One of AWA-Iloilo’s priority projects is to create public awareness on Republic Act 8485 or the Animal Welfare Act. They will be going to various barangays to disseminate information on the law.
AWA-Iloilo is a non-profit organization aimed at rescuing stray and sick animals and finding a home for them.
“We pick up dogs on extreme cases – those that are hit, sick and malnourished,” said Wharton.
However, even they lack facilities and funds, and rely solely on donations.
They currently have a foster home donated by a volunteer and are using Wharton’s business – Spa Riviera – as temporary office.
“The front desk personnel temporarily assist people for donations. We issue receipts for accountability,” she said.
Proceeds go to animal food and medicines.
“There is no limit for donations,” Wharton said. “Any amount, even P100 or P60, can make a difference.”
AWA-Iloilo may also be contacted thru its Facebook page, www.facebook.com/AwaIloilo for more information./PN