Amid the Christmas season and the election fever, barangay leaders have a great responsibility to look after local residents.

This New Year, they must commit themselves to shepherd stray dogs and cats and prevent them from endangering young and old.

New Year means new changes from rabies-stricken animals.

Thus, barangay leaders must join forces with the city pound personnel to round up these roaming cats and dogs as part of community safety and hygiene programs.

Pet lovers also have a task to perform — to give love and care to their pets without any condition.

Animal welfare groups have to roll up their sleeves and crack down on people who take advantage of pets– like dog catchers who sell their prey to the highest bidder— restaurant owners who offer dog meat as appetizers.

Something to look forward to in 2016– the partnership between Manila City Hall and a foreign group to rehabilitate the good old Manila Zoo — an attraction for young and old Filipinos who are pet lovers.

This story appeared in Animal Scene’s February 2016 issue.