AKF: Passion and Perseverance in the Time of Pandemic

posted January 30, 2021 at 09:30 pm
by  Greg Salido Quimpo and Heidi Marquez
Looking back at 2020, amidst all the tragedies and calamities that plaque the country, the whole world for that matter, AKF was already deep into animal protection and rescue work as soon as the Taal volcano erupted in January. While we were wrapping up our mission in Taal in March, the lockdown was imposed and, initially, we were left wondering what is going to happen to our campaigns, the animals in our shelter, and to a bigger extent, to AKF as a donation-reliant organization.

Our 2020 was full of uncertainty, and worse, natural calamities came in succession adding more worries to our woes. The shelter incurred structural damages and was flooded.  

But, we realized, our passion to advocate animal welfare and save as many hapless animals that we can carry us through the hardest of times. We take great pride in our advocacy and we are confident that as long as the community of advocates carry the cause with us and support us, AKF will fight on.  

Even when the pandemic paralyzed most of AKF’s community events and awareness campaigns, we kept on with our collaborations with other private groups and the government to get on with the limited but meaningful activities like spaying and neutering plus providing relief aids to hapless animals affected by the lockdown. Most importantly, AKF did not stop its operation against the dog traders (DMT).

AKF volunteers helped clean a dog facility in San Mateo, Rizal  after the place was flooded due to supertyphoon Ulysses. 
In 2020. Our campaign on the dog meat trade resulted in  two cases being resolved paving for the conviction of  two  dog traders in Cabanatuan City for a penalty of one (1 year) imprisonment, while another accused in General Tinio was sentenced, also.

We rescued  seven live dogs from five  DMT operations and filed cases against six dog traders. The areas of operation were in Nueva Ecija, Tondo and Zambales

At the end of 2020, AKF had nearly 200 rescued dogs in its shelter.


AKF spearheaded the relief and rescue operations in coordination with the Provincial Government of Batangas during the Taal Volcano eruption.  The Incident Command System for Taal was established with the Provincial Veterinary Office of Batangas through the planning and organization of our Disaster Relief and Rescue team headed by Atty Heidi Caguioa and Dr. Rey Napoles, both seated as members of the said ICS team.

From January to March, until the start of the lockdown, AKF continued its activities in Taal consisting of relief distribution, feeding, rescue, rehabilitation of rescued dogs and cats, cattle and pigs. AKF partnered with Vets In Practice in the care of its injured rescues which were housed in the Lipa Pet Shelter Project at the Outlets. Most of the animals were thereafter reconciled with owners and those with no known owners were brought to AKF rescue center in Capas, Tarlac.

Assistance to backyard swine growers whose livestock and pens were buried in volcanic ash was also carried out. AKF led the providing of feeds, medicines, and rebuilding of pens. 

Together with a volunteer from an FB group and the PVO, AKF created a website for rescued animals  to account, identify and assist owners in locating their animals, through its Project Taal Animal Response. The website included most cooperating shelters and temporary shelters which housed Taal rescues.

A pup was rescued by AKF  after the eruption  of Taal volcano in Batangas. AKF executive director Heidi Marquez and volunteers saved dogs who were left behind by owners who had to flee their homes. 
A total of 24 dogs, two of them gave birth to three puppies each at the rescue center, and three kittens were transported to AKF in Capas, a day before the lockdown.

The relief undertaking covered the towns and villages of Lemery, Balete, San Nicolas, Nasugbu and Talisay.

The staggering number of hapless and abandoned pets; cats and dogs and livestock were serviced after AKF deployed its team consisting of individual volunteers, veterinary volunteers from the PVMA, the AFP VetCorps, Vets Love Nature, PAHA among others. The AKF team of volunteers’ timely and systematic response greatly impacted the areas that needed help including temporary shelters at that time.

We continued our Training/Seminar with the PNP in Bicutan, Taguig, our partnership with PVMA for a conference on Sustainable  Egg Production – Cage Free System for an Improved Farm Welfare, held a forum inside Clark, Angeles City  introducing cage-free to the poultry raisers. 

While the pandemic was swiftly wreaking havoc, AKF had also noted that the number of strays and wandering animals has gone up and their conditions became grimmer. Because of this, we launched a response dubbed “We Feed As One”. AKF distributed animal food to at least six small shelters in April and went around to various areas in Metro Manila, Quezon City, Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac  to conduct regular stray feeding to more ore or less 3,500 animals consisting of dogs and cats.

FIND LOVE ONLINE - Online Virtual Adoption Drive

The lockdown also made AKF launch its online Virtual Adoption Drive where it featured through FB live its adorable and adoptable rescues. This activity went viral and AKF was able to rehome 20 dogs in total.

And then the ravaging typhoons came, almost all of Luzon island was greatly affected; houses blown away, towns and cities were flooded and livelihood of people, especially livestock and farm owners, nearly got all washed out.  

AKF responded to these emergencies by launching its relief drive. AKF was able to provide over a thousand relief supplies for animals and humans in Guinobatan Sorsogon, in Ilagan City and San Mateo Rizal, in the Dumagat Community in Norzagaray and Dona Remedios Trinidad in Bulacan .

Rescued dogs found loving homes during the lcokdown. Adopters fetched their adopted rescues from the AKF shelter in Capas, Tarlac. 
What shocked the country was the plight of the San Mateo Pound in Rizal shown in a video with over 60 dogs perched on top of the flooded and damaged facility caused by Typhoon Ulyses. Coming to its aid, AKF fielded volunteers and assisted the pound by spearheading a donation appeal and cleanup of the pound. Continuing veterinary care is being provided to the dogs that survived the ordeal. Help and sustainability of the no kill pound is also being discussed with the LGU.

In October 2020, AKF received information that relocated residents of Taliptip Islands of Bulakan, Bulacan, due to the impending construction of a neo-city airport in the area, left behind about 40 dogs in the island. AKF visited the manmade island and was able to confirm the information.

The dogs are now under the care of AKF in its rescue center in Capas, Tarlac.

Even with the most difficult time, AKF carried all of these activities and more because that is all we know, we need to protect and save the animals. If we do not do it, it is a guarantee that they will greatly suffer and worse, perish, mostly in a painful manner. So thank you, fellow advocates for your unending support. Please do not hesitate to help AKF, we could not have done it all without you. Thank you and may 2021 bring us all the security we need and may we all stay safe.

Topics: AKF , Disaster Relief and Rescue , disasters , pandemic
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