‘Kill stray dogs? Euthanize their owners instead’

ILOILO City – “Let the irresponsible owners suffer, not the innocent animals.”

“There are more decent solutions.”

“Iloilo is a livable city. Is this statement applicable to humans only?”

These are just some the reactions an online petition against the “mercy killing” of stray dogs here has gotten two days since it started.

Animal lover Mikaela Chavez kick-started the petition “Stop the Stray Dog Mercy Killing in Iloilo City” right after the City Veterinary Office announced it would round up stray dogs and kill them for destroying ornamental plants at the Iloilo Esplande and elsewhere in the metropolis.

“I write this petition in behalf of a lot of my fellow Ilonggo animal lovers. More importantly, I write this in behalf of all the stray dogs who cannot speak for themselves. They are suffering everyday on the streets either by hunger, maltreatment or abuse. These dogs deserve better lives,” according to Chavez.

As of this writing, the petition already had over 3,500 signatories.

City Beautification Program head Ninda Atinado recently sought the City Veterinary Office’s help. She said not only humans but stray dogs, too, were vandalizing ornamental plants that the city government planted at the Iloilo Esplanade and the median strip of the Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr. Avenue in Barangay San Rafael, Mandurriao district.

Dr. Tomas Forteza, city veterinarian, agreed to round up stray dogs.

But according to Chavez, killing strays dogs is not the solution to the problem. She urged the city government to explore alternatives.

She suggested “neutering services for stray dogs” and for the city government to “establish animal shelters.”

According to Forteza, apprehended stray dogs would be impounded at the city government motorpool on Delgado Street where owners could claim them.

Unclaimed stray dogs would be euthanized by overdosing them with barbiturates.

“If no one shows up to claim the dogs or adopt them, we will do mercy killing. We will put them to sleep,” Forteza.

Chavez said the city government should work with animal lovers and nongovernment organizations to come up with “more humane and civilized” ways of controlling stray dogs.

Forteza, meanwhile, urged those with dogs to be responsible pet owners and by that, he meant that the dogs must be leashed.

“Gasagod sila ido pero wala sila galantaw sang ila responsibilidad para mag-safe aton community. They must keep their dogs within their premises,” said Forteza.

Chavez’s online petition has attracted various reactions. Some described the proposed “mercy killing” as animal cruelty or animal abuse.

Vivian Almasol wrote: “I want this to stop. I don’t want to let the strays suffer the consequences of the city government’s development plan. There has to be a more effective solution.”

Kriska Faith de Leon suggested: “Irresponsible owners should be the one to suffer, not their dogs. Government should provide free spaying and neutering, vaccinations and shelter as well.”

Camille Billones wrote, “Instead of focusing on useless plants, the city government could have used the funds for spaying or neutering these stray dogs.”

Jennifer Go agreed. She wrote, “Start with rabies vaccination…ask help from veterinary schools.”

Some who signed the petition took their reasoning further.

Bobbie Casiple wrote: “Animals have the same rights as humans have.”

Dinah Cristina Amane warned of “karma to the people responsible for the murder of helpless dogs.”

Tamica Longno averred, “You give rapists and pedophiles and murders second chances, so why is it so hard to give an innocent dog or cat or any animal a second chance at life? Or are you really that heartless and backward?”/PN


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