The Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) was all in opposition to a drafted city ordinance that limits dog and cats to 4.
PAWS is opposing the City Ordinance 2386, written by Quezon City Councilors Raquel Malangen and Jessica Daza, and approved by Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista last March 13, 2015.
According to the group’s Facebook post, “The ordinance is unclear, promotes pet abandonment – which is a violation of The Animal Welfare Act -and infringes on pet owners’ rights to property and their right to privacy. Further, the ordinance only recognizes sellers and breeders of pets as deserving of a P500 special permit and remains silent on the granting of a special consideration for the large number of concerned citizens – whether individual or groups – who help the City Government address animal control problems at the root by choosing to spay or neuter their own pets and regularly rescue, adopt or foster a dog from the streets or from Pounds and animal shelters.”
PAWS claimed that they and other animal welfare organizations were not consulted during the deliberation of Ordinance 2386. Furthermore, they cited flaws in the ordinance including provisions prone to misinterpretation, typographical errors, ambiguous policies and unfair restrictions.
“The authors and the approving authorities of this ordinance did little in terms of getting proper and sufficient information on dog behavior before putting out this ordinance,” says Anna Cabrera, PAWS Executive Director. “There are various circumstances where a person may be bitten ‘without provocation’ by a dog being walked by its owner in a public place and this is not a valid reason to cite it as a prohibited act.”
Cabrera also cited possible abuses of the ordinance, including simple complaints against pets for merely defecating, barking, menacing approach, and may be even used as means of retaliation by unscrupulous personalities like thieves and robbers.
In protest of the ordinance, PAWS organized a picket in front of the Quezon City hall last April 15. To their surprise, Earth Island Institute, Philippine Animal Rescue Team, Cat Care Philippines, Justice for Pasig City Pound Dogs, CARA (the same CARA who sponsored cats of Cat Cafe Manila), IRO, Hope for Strays, The Advocacy Center Help MAS Citizens group and many pet owners from QC joined the protest rally.
In response to the protest that drew unexpectedly large numbers, Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte released a statement to the media saying that the ordinance “has been repealed” by a subsequently-signed ordinance of the Mayor – the Vet Code.
However, upon analysis, the Vet Code, while not citing pet count restriction, did not explicitly do away with the said restriction.
Due to this, Vice Mayor Belmonte called a consultation with pet-related stakeholders such as PAWS. The result is the total assurance that the spurious provisions and QCO 2386 itself will be effectively repealed.
Moreover, also in the meeting, Belmonte asked the animal welfare groups such as PAWS to help craft the IRR of the Veterinary Code, to which the groups unanimously agreed. They will be consulted extensively so that the ordinance will be amicably beneficial to city, residents and pet lovers.
(photos by PAWS Facebook Page and QC Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte)
PS. Councilors Raquel Malangen, Jessica Daza and Mayor Herbert Bautista’s incumbency are in danger because of the bill. What do you think? Sound off in the comments below!