|Barked: Wed Jun 20, '07 8:46am PST |
|By Joyce Pangco Pañares
CONGRESS has passed a law banning the trading in dog meat and promoting the elimination of rabies through mandatory dog immunization.
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo signed the law, the “Anti-Rabies Act of 2007,” and allocated P100 million to implement it.
“We have become more animal-conscious now,” Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said.
“Dogs are friends. They guard our homes, and we in return take care of them. Some of us even sleep beside our pets,” he said.
Republic Act 8845, passed in 1998, bans the trading in dog meat, but its implementation has been selective as most provinces in the north of the country hide behind “tradition” to justify eating dogs.
In Baguio alone, residents consume about 200 dogs a day, according to animal rights advocate Network for Animals.
Network representative Melchor Alipio said the P5,000 fine imposed in RA 8845 was too small compared with the P55 million that dog traders earned annually.
Section 11 of the new law imposes a P5,000 fine for every dog killed or traded for its meat and a jail term of one year to four years.
“If the violation is committed by an alien, he or she shall be immediately deported after service of sentence without any further proceedings,” the law says.
The law also requires dog owners to have their pets vaccinated regularly against rabies or face a fine of P2,000. Dog owners who let their dogs stray will be fined P500 for each stray.
The law tasks the agriculture department to give free anti-rabies shots in depressed areas, and the health department to stock cheap anti-rabies vaccines for humans.
Stray dogs will be impounded at government dog pounds.
“Impounded dogs not claimed after three days from the dog pound shall be placed for adoption to qualified persons with the assistance of an animal welfare non-government organization,” the law says.
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