Irresponsible dog owners face raps in Baguio

RESPONSIBLE DOG OWNERSHIP. The legal office of Baguio City will sue irresponsible dog owners as part of the Responsible Dog Ownership Ordinance of the city passed in 2021. Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda said the city’s responsibility of filing a case will come when there is no private offended party who is affected due to the violation based on the ordinance. (PNA file photo)

BAGUIO CITY – Animal welfare advocates in the city have lauded the city government for approving a resolution allowing its legal office to file charges against erring dog owners.

“More than a year of rescuing, we have experienced so many heartbreaks for rescues: abandoned, neglected by the owners. The Baguio City Pound that so many despise is continuing to operate because of owners letting their dogs out and on the loose not bothered by the danger imposed,” the Furvent Animal Rescue and Advocacy Group said in a social media post on Tuesday.

The group added that it can now push for the creation of an adoption facility once fewer dogs are impounded at the city pound.

“Everyday, they (City Pound) can catch 30 dogs, and it doesn’t seem to stop. And even when owners are even aware, they would not claim their dogs and just get another dog. They are not held accountable for their irresponsible actions and it is their dog suffering,” the group said.

Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda, in a phone interview on Monday, said the approved resolution requested and authorized the City Legal Office, in coordination with the City Veterinary and Agriculture Office (CVAO), to take legal action against violators of Ordinance No. 19 Series of 2021 or the Responsible Dog Ownership Ordinance of Baguio City.

She said dog owners who fail to properly perform their duties as dog owners are violating the ordinance to the detriment of other people or causes discomfort on other individual residents.

“This willful and conscious negligence puts a heavy burden on the community and the city government and all the front-liners in the maintenance of a safe and healthy environment for all, humans and pets alike,” she added.

In a media release on Monday, Jordan Habbiling, information officer of the Baguio City Council, said the Responsible Dog Ownership Ordinance requires dog owners only if they have the means to look after them.

Other responsibilities of dog owners in the ordinance are submitting the dogs for mandatory registration and regular vaccination, maintaining updated records and providing their dogs with proper grooming, adequate food, and clean shelter.

Pet owners shall also provide a good health management program for their dogs, maintain control over their dogs with the use of a leash when in public places and collect and dispose of their pets’ feces at all times.

Dog owners are also required to take all measures to prevent their dogs from being stray or nuisance, report immediately any dog-biting incident and take appropriate precaution, and assist dog bite victims and shoulder all expenses incurred relative to the victim’s injuries. (PNA)