When in Manila dogs and cats are either pampered, treated as family, or they are abandoned, abused and, sometimes, killed for food. Strays are everywhere, we see them roaming the streets, living under cars and begging for scraps of food. Sometimes we hear reports of trucks of dogs on their way to slaughter, thankfully intercepted by authorities. The dog meat trade is alive and kicking here, I’m afraid, despite a law banning it. For one dog rescued, probably a hundred are killed.
A well-loved dog goes missing
On the other side of the coin, there are heart-wrenching stories of dogs missing and their human family desperately searching. Have you heard the story of the Search for Winter? It’s a common enough story: a much-loved dog slips past the house gates for some adventure, only she ends up lost and unable to go back home. The difference with this story is that Winter’s grieving human mom created a journal on Facebook to get the word out and document her thoughts on how love is beyond breed, beyond species. Winter loves her, and she loves Winter and she prays they will find each other again. Winter was lost in Las Pinas.
Many people will ask, why should we care? People suffer—why concern ourselves with animals? We can debate long and hard for the answer or we can take the word of one of the greatest men who ever lived: The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated – Mahatma Gandhi.
If we wish to prosper then we must learn to care for others beside ourselves.
PALS advocates adoption, as well as the spaying or neutering of pets to prevent over-population that leads to numerous strays on the streets.
For me, it boils down to empathy and compassion. I don’t understand how anyone who has ever stared into the eyes of a dog or a cat will think they have no emotions. Unlike humans who can work for a living, our dogs and cats rely on us for so many things. Like it or not, they are part of our lives. And whether we deserve it or not, they love us.
For those who would like to help animals in distress in the Philippines, here are five ways that you can start helping:
1. Know the law. It is illegal to butcher dogs for meat and to abuse them- Republic Act No. 8485, known as the Animal Welfare Act of 1998. In Metro Manila, Commission Ordinance 82-05 specifically prohibits the killing and selling of dogs for food.
2. Report animal abuse. If you find out about animal cruelty, or that your neighbours are planning to have asocena for their pulutan, report the incident immediately to your barangay officials and/or to 117. You may also seek the assistance of animal rights groups—their Facebook Pages and contact information are listed below.
3. Adopt or foster. Shelters and dog pounds are overcrowded with animals waiting for a forever home. Do you know that most dog pounds in the country euthanize animals after five days? It’s also important to note that animal welfare groups discourage people from buying from pet shops due to the questionable practices of many puppy mills where shops get most of their stock (just Google online for reports).
This CARA event encourages people to give rescued dogs and cats a home and a family.
Instead they encourage choosing to love rescued animals, whatever breed, or lack of it, they are. When you adopt from a rescue organization, animals are usually spayed or neutered and vaccinated already. There is an adoption fee in some cases (from PhP500 to PhP1,000)
4. Rescue. Perhaps you chance upon an injured animal, what you immediately do is to make sure it is out of harm’s way. Ask the help of people in the area (traffic cops, vendors, barangay officials, etc.). Try not to touch the animal to avoid being bitten—animals in pain may lash out unintentionally. Place a cardboard under the animal and pull it to safety. Bring it to the nearest vet and call volunteer groups that will help with transportation and cost of treatment.
5. Donate. Every Peso counts. Volunteer groups rely on donations from members to sustain their rescue, foster and veterinary care operations. They do it out of love, but they need cash to buy food and medicine for the animals.
If you really are serious about helping animals, I encourage you to check out the following groups. They’re excellent sources of information. They’re also great support groups, made up of passionate animal lovers who will move heaven and earth to give another furry friend a second-chance at happiness.
PAWS: Support Beauty Beyond Breed
Animal Rescue Groups in the Philippines:
1. Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS)
Address: Aurora Boulevard, Katipunan Valley, Loyola Heights, Quezon City (beside Superlines)
How to contact: +632 475-1688; email@example.com
2. Compassion and Responsibility for Animals (CARA)
How to contact: +63 2 353-3381 cell: +63 9107297026; firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Philippine Animal Lover’s Society (PALS)
How to contact: email@example.com
4. Animal Kingdom Foundation (AKF)
Address: Unit 2A #88, Maginhawa Street, Teachers’ Village, Diliman, Quezon City
How to contact: +632 435-5743; firstname.lastname@example.org
5. Island Rescue Organization (IRO)
How to contact: email@example.com; +63 9325621672, Donation Hotline: +63 9053543448/ +63 9322826312, Adoption Hotline: +63 9158535672
6. Aklan Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation Center (AARRC)
How to contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
When in Manila, maybe we feel we do too little, or not enough. What I think is that what we do, whether we just shared this article, or much more, makes a difference:
“I looked at all the caged animals in the shelter…the cast-offs of human society. I saw in their eyes love and hope, fear and dread, sadness and betrayal. And I was angry. “God,” I said, “this is terrible! Why don’t you do something?” God was silent for a moment and then He spoke softly. I have done something,” He replied. “I created you.” – Jim Willis 1999
Spikey used to be an abused dog.
Hundreds of pitbulls, rescued from a dog-fighting ring, need our help.
To view Winter’s story, click this link: http://www.facebook.com/HelpFindWinter
To know more about Republic Act No. 8485, known as the Animal Welfare Act of 1998, click here.
To report about animal cruelty, click here.
5 Ways to Help Animals in the Philippines