When it comes to saving our animal friends. it’s important that we take it seriously. By thinking that you are “just saving a pet,” you not only devalue the soul you are saving, but also put yourself in possible legal and personal peril. This is particularly true if the abuser has a history of violent action, or if the local authorities are less than helpful – if not downright oppositional – to your request for help.

It is important to remain educated about the laws of the land.

Heads up!

It should be noted that Republic Act 10631 made amendments to the law, particularly the following:

  1. Abuse has been defined for animals as not only physical, but psychological harm as well.
  2. Abandonment concerns have been included, such that if an animal dies because of it, the owner will suffer the maximum penalty. It is also considered maltreatment in certain cases.
  3. Penalties were outlined for various cases of animal abuse.
  4. The role of animal welfare enforcement officers was further defined.

Animal welfare Act of 1998

Here are some interesting facts about the Philippine Animal Welfare Act of 1998.

The Act isn’t just for household animal companions

It also is about supervision and regulation of all operations and establishments that involve breeding, treating and training animals, regardless of if they are household companions.

Any shop or business for breeding, treatment, and training needs to secure a certificate of registration

If you know of a shop that has no registration, it’s best to advise them to get one immediately, if they are friends, or report them to the authorities. Certification assures that certain standards of sanitation and cleanliness are followed. The same goes for any business or service that involves transportation of animals – with the added required safe conveyance standards and providing sufficient food and water if travel time is more than 12 hours. And don’t forget, it’s also necessary that animals in transit are not overcrowded or put in storage areas like trunks of vehicles.

Torture is unlawful. Period.

So is neglect, maltreatment, and using animals for violent sports like dogfights. Killing is automatically illegal, of course. And remember, research and experimentation does not authorize any of the above, unless expressly allowed by the Committee on Animal Welfare.

Religious rituals that involve animal sacrifices are allowed.

However, these should be done in close coordination with the Committee on Animal Welfare, and with proper records.

Euthanasia for animals with incurable diseases is allowed, as it is for animals who are suffering from an injury or disease.

Licensed veterinarians are the ones who determine this. Population control and the concern of an animal being a danger to humans are also grounds for euthanasia, as determined by a licensed veterinarian.

Who can I call?

If you think you need help when it comes to a case of animal abuse, and you want to intervene properly and legally, you can contact the following.

The Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS)

Telephone: (632) 8475 1688
Time: Mondays to Saturdays, except on Wednesdays and holidays
Work Hours: 10:00am-5:00pm, except for lunch break at 12-1pm

CARA Welfare Philippines (Compassion and Responsibility for Animals)

Telephone: (63919) 579 0047
Time: Monday to Saturdays
Work Hours: 8am to 5pm on weekdays, 8am to 12pm on Saturdays
E-mail: clinic@caraphil.org

What else can I do?

If you feel you need to do more, please do consider these options, as suggested by Silver Michelle Baena Ciriacruz in a 2012 article for When In Manila.

Rescuing injured animals

When you come upon an injured animal, such as a dog or cat in the streets, the first thing to do is make sure you can get the help of nearby officials and people.

Be aware that animals in pain may lash out and hurt you. If possible, make an improvised cot out of cardboard or a similar material, so you can pull them to a safe area. After that, it’s best to let experienced animal welfare groups or veterinarians take over.

Adoption or fostering

It’s a bitter truth that animal shelters and dog pounds are overcrowded, with many of our animal allies waiting for that one forever home. You may want to visit the local pound or animal shelter, to see if one of them needs you – or, really, if you suddenly feel a connection with one of them. Rescued animals are usually spayed or neutered, aside from being vaccinated. And don’t forget to bring at least P1,000 or so for adoption fees.

This appeared in Animal Scene magazine’s March 2020 issue.

You might want to read:
– Hospital adopts stray dog and appoints him as their official hospital guard dog
– Consider post-pandemic life before adopting pets, animal shelter owner says
– Animal shelter celebrates as all their rescued animals have been adopted