By: Emme Rose Santiagudo
The increasing number of stray dogs in Iloilo City must be controlled for the sake of public safety, the City Veterinarian Office (CVO) said Thursday.
City Veterinarian Dr. Thomas Forteza said the public is highly vulnerable because of numerous stray dogs in city streets.
“Dapat maintindihan sang publiko nga we need to control the stray dogs for their protection. Ginabasol nila kami kay naluoy sila sa mga stray dogs but once makagat sila kag magkarabies gaproblema man sila,” he lamented.
He appealed for understanding following negative reactions from the public on reports that stray dogs in the city will be subjected to mercy killing or euthanasia.
“I hope that they look at our thoroughfares and see the real picture because the increasing number of stray dogs in the city is really a big problem,” Forteza stressed.
According to Forteza, five stray dogs recently captured in the Central Market in City Proper tested positive for rabies.
Western Visayas recorded the second highest human rabies deaths in the country at 20 from January to August 2019.
Forteza also cited the shortage of human vaccines for rabies as another problem.
“They could also endanger the motorists and drivers as well as tourists visiting the metro. We are making the city beautiful but there are also stray dogs nga gapangkaykay sang tanom sa siyudad,” he added.
According to Forteza, the law mandates the CVO to control the stray dog population.
As much as they don’t want to harm the dogs, Forteza said protocols dictate that they end a dog’s life once it is not claimed or adopted three days after it is captured.
“We do not want to put them to sleep as much as we want to but we can’t do anything kay wala may ma-adopt,” he stressed.
Just like any other government unit, Forteza admitted their office has limited budget for the establishment of a shelter or a city pound facility for the stray dogs.
“Limitado and waay kita budget for treatment and grooming. No government in this country could afford shelter, kamahal unless founded by private sectors and maintained by donations and volunteers,” he said.
Hence, Forteza said he can only advocate for responsible pet ownership to address the problem of stray dogs.
“Tuod-tuod wala stray dogs as long as people will become responsible. Sa mga owners they should not let their dogs wander in the streets and if indi nila gusto magdamo they should have it spayed or neutered,” he emphasized.
Currently, Forteza said their team are rounding up stray dogs in the city every Saturday and Sunday.
For those who want to adopt the dogs in their custody, he said interested residents can visit their office at the Motorpool Complex in Delgado Street, City Proper district and bring their valid identification cards.
“They will have to be evaluated because indi man kami directly ka hatag sa ila if they are not capable because ang gakatabo ginapa-adopt namon and ginabay-an man nila maglagaw sa kalsada,” he said.