City celebrates “Anti-Rabies Month” with free vaccination drive

BAGUIO CITY  – (5 March 2021) – “Be a responsible pet owner.”

This was the plea of City Veterinary and Agriculture Office (CVAO) head Dr. Brigit Piok to the public as the Summer Capital celebrates March as “Rabies Awareness Month” with the theme, “Maging Responsableng Amo: Huwag Hayaang Gumala ang Alagang Aso’t Pusa”.

In a media forum Wednesday at City Hall, she pointed out that pet owners should know their responsibilities in having a domesticated animal because it is a personal choice.

“Since it is your choice to own a pet, then let your choice be a priority,” Piok stressed as she disclosed that the city has an estimated population of 60,000 dogs and cats.

Highlighting the celebration is the conduct of free anti-rabies vaccinations for pets of Baguio residents, Monday to Friday, 8 am to 5pm, at the CVAO, Slaughterhouse Compound, Sto. Nino barangay, she said.

This is in addition to the regular year-round vaccinations being implemented by her office in every barangay.  Schedule and specific site of the activity is posted at the CVAO facebook page, Piok added.

She said, however, that her office does not do house calls and those wanting to have their pets vaccinated at home should hire the services of a private veterinarian instead.

Republic Act 9482 or the Anti-Rabies Act of 2007 provides the responsibilities of pet owners, to wit:

(a) Have their dog regularly vaccinated against rabies and maintain a registration card which shall contain all vaccinations conducted on their dog, for accurate record purposes;

(b) Submit their dogs for mandatory registration;

(c) Maintain control over their dog and not allow it to roam the streets or any public place without a leash;

(d) Be a responsible owner by providing their dog with proper grooming, adequate food and clean shelter;

(e) Within 24 hours, report immediately any dog biting incident to the concerned officials for investigation or for any appropriate action and place such dog under observation by a government or private veterinarian;

(f) Assist the dog bite victim immediately and shoulder the medical expenses incurred and other incidental expenses relative to the victim’s injuries.

Penalties are:

1. Pet owners who fail or refuse to have their dog registered and immunized against Rabies shall be punished by a fine of P2,000;

2. Pet owners who refuse to have their dog vaccinated against rabies shall be liable to pay for the vaccination of both the dog and the individuals bitten by their dog;

3. Pet owners who refuse to have their  dog put under observation after said dog has bitten an individual shall be meted a fine of P10,000;

4. Pet owners who refuse to have their dog put under observation and do not shoulder the medical expenses of the person bitten by their dog shall be meted a fine of P25,000;

5. Pet owners who refuse to put leash on their dogs when they are brought outside the house shall be meted a fine of Five hundred pesos P500 for each incident;

6. An impounded dog shall be released to its owner upon payment of a fine of not less than P500 but not more than P1,000;

7.  Any person found guilty of trading dog for meat shall be fined not less than P5,000 per dog and subjected to imprisonment for one to four years;

 8. Any person found guilty of using electrocution as a method of euthanasia shall be fined not less than P5,000 per act and subject to imprisonment for one to four years;

9. If the violation is committed by an alien, he or she shall be immediately deported after service of sentence without any further proceedings. – Gaby B. Keith