Baguio remains free from human rabies for 11 years

05 May 2021 – The city remains to be free from human rabies for the past 11 years because of the aggressive campaign of the City Veterinary and Agriculture Office (CVAO) on responsible pet ownership.

City Health Officer Dr. Rowena Galpo claimed that animal bite cases have steadily decreased in the past five years following the enhanced advocacy of the local government on responsible pet ownership among the residents having pets in their houses and compounds.

However, she admitted that a sudden increase in animal bite cases was noted last year that may be attributed to the implementation of community quarantine to contain the spread of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID) 2019 cases in the city.

The city health officer claimed that because of the government’s policy for people to stay at home, residents, especially children, were given more time to play and sustain bites from their pets.

For this year, the CVAO is targeting to vaccinate over 60,000 dogs and cats in the different barangays following the intensified implementation of the city’s responsible pet ownership ordinance that was recently crafted to serve as a guide for pet owners.

Last year, the CVAO was able to vaccinate more than 50,000 dogs and cats from the city’s 128 barangays.

Aside from the city’s intensified anti-rabies vaccination of dogs and cats in the different parts of the city, the local government continues to make the rounds in the barangays to catch stray dogs and cats to avoid exposing people to bites that might cause them to contract the dreaded rabies from rabid stary animals.

Galpo commended the CVAO for its aggressive campaign in inculcating into the minds of the residents’ responsible pet ownership to avoid the proliferation of rabies cases that might pose a serious threat to the lives of the individuals who contract the same.

According to her, individuals that are bitten by their pets should immediately seek the appropriate medical attention from the nearest health facility for them to be provided with the appropriate medication from being infected with the dreaded rabies, especially when the animal that have bitten them might be rabid.

Under the city’s responsible pet ownership ordinance, pet owners are required to register their pets with the CVAO and for the same to be provided with micro-chips or dog tags to ensure their proper identification and the owner of the pets for easier tracing of the owners of those stray animals.

Further, pet owners are also required to ensure that their pets are within the premises of their residences so that they will not go astray and pose a threat to the safety of people passing by their places.

The responsible pet ownership ordinance also requires barangays to put up their respective dog pounds where stary animals could be temporarily kept while awaiting the personnel of the CVAO to claim the same and keep them in the city’s dog pound until such time that their owners will claim them or the same will be subject to adoption. – Dexter A. See