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Pets, other animals suffer, too

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THE ongoing clashes in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur, between government forces and members of Maute group have displaced not just thousands of residents but also their pets and other animals that were left behind to fend for themselves.

While some residents were able to flee to Iligan and other nearby cities with their pets, others who failed to do so have taken to social media to express their concern.

Maria Ninotchka Herrera, a teacher at the Mindanao State University in Marawi, said a number of friends left their pets inside the campus with food and water, thinking they could come back for them after just a few days. As the conflict continues, however, they now worry that their pets are starving.

Marines have supposedly secured the campus, but this doesn’t guarantee that the dogs and cats there would be safe and not leave to forage for food.

Herrera traveled for almost nine hours from Marawi to Iligan with her Japanese Spitz Misao and her Siberian Husky Maya. During her journey, Herrera said she saw other evacuees who took their pets with them.

“There were kids cuddling their cats and older kids holding their dogs. I couldn’t take photos because our phones didn’t have enough battery because there was no electricity since Tuesday night [May 23], when we left,” she said.

“But most people I know there just left their pets in their houses, with food good for three days. No one expected that the trouble would stretch for days,” she said.

Herrera said there is no animal welfare group based in Marawi. She said people are fervently praying for the fighting to end soon so they could all return to Marawi and care for the animals that were left behind.

Riz Sunio, a college professor from RC-Al Khwarizmi International College Foundation Inc. located in downtown Marawi, was forced to leave her two black kittens and their mother in a room inside a private boarding house at MSU. She left them last Tuesday (May 23) with about 400g of cat food and water, which she fears her cats have consumed by now.

“I wanted to bring them with me in Lala, Lanao del Norte. I got an extra backpack to put them in, but because we would only hitch a ride I was advised not to, as having cats [during the trip] might be bothersome for other people,” Sunio said. She argued her point vehemently, but to no avail.

Wawa, the mother cat, gave birth to Ling-ling and Tom-tom a little over a month ago. “The kittens have just learned to eat solid food. I hope they can make do with their mother’s milk for now,” said Sunio.

In a recent Facebook post, Sunio expressed her desperate desire to fetch her three cats “when the coast is clear.”

“They are family to me and family is not supposed to be abandoning one another,” Sunio said. MetroPets 


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