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Friday, June 14, 2024

Villar calls for urgent action to control growing population of stray animals

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With an estimated 13 million stray animals on our streets, Senator Cynthia Villar has called for state-sponsored actions to control the growing population of pets, particularly dogs and cats.

“Just like people, we need to put a stop to the increasing number of our pets, especially dogs and cats, which roam our communities when nobody takes care of them,” said Villar during a recent Senate Agriculture and Food Committee hearing on animal welfare.

The senator noted that stray animals can pose significant threats to public health by spreading diseases such as rabies, leptospirosis, and other parasites.

Villar also pointed out the root causes of this problem: neglect, overpopulation, and a lack of education on animal welfare and responsible pet ownership.

She said poor families often abandon pets after they give birth because they were unable to support the additional animals.

A dog can give birth to at least four puppies a year, while a cat can have up to 12 kittens, exacerbating the overpopulation problem.

To address this issue, Villar has been offering free spaying and neutering services, as well as anti-rabies shots in her hometown Las Piñas City. The program also includes adoption drives to find homes for stray animals.

Crisis in Animal Shelters

Villar also noted that many stray and rescued animals placed in shelters are euthanized if they are not adopted or claimed within a week due to a lack of space and resources.

For this reason, animal advocates have been calling for increased public awareness on animal welfare and responsible pet ownership.

“Educational campaigns can help shift cultural perceptions and encourage empathy towards animals,” Villar underscored.

Under Republic Act (RA) No. 8485, as amended by RA 10631 or the Animal Welfare Act, the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) is tasked with enforcing animal welfare laws.

This legislation criminalizes various forms of animal cruelty, including maltreatment, negligence, and abandonment.

However, despite this law, some individuals continue to evade appropriate punishment for animal abuse and cruelty.

Animal cruelty remains an ongoing problem that impacts vulnerable animals unable to protect themselves. 

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