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AKLAN, Philippines – As Boracay prepares for the return of tourists, the Malay municipal council plans to amend an ordinance on rabies control and pet ownership to curb the number of incidents involving stray dogs in the town which includes the world-famous island.
Recent reports of increased dog bites and stray dogs on the streets that endanger the health, safety, and general welfare of tourists and residents are major concerns in mainland Malay and Boracay Island.
Municipal Ordinance No. 302 was enacted on September 6, 2011, to “prohibit stray, unwanted, unvaccinated dogs from roaming around public places, protect inhabitants from the danger of rabies and responsible pet ownership.”
Boracay has been declared a rabies-free zone since 2013, or two years after the enactment of MO 302.
Town officials believe it’s time to amend the 7-year-old ordinance. Among the amendments to be introduced are on limiting the number of dogs a person can own, impounding field control mechanisms, and the disposition of stray dogs.
From January to June this year, a total of 1,056 dogs and cats in Barangay Balabag were vaccinated, 1,400 in Barangay Manoc-Manoc, and 583 in Barangay Yapak.
Of the 223 stray dogs and cats captured in the municipality, 156 remained unclaimed, 22 were redeemed by their owners, while 25 were adopted by an animal rescue center in Kalibo.
Last year, house-to-house visitation and dog immunization activities were also conducted in Boracay and mainland Malay under a project of the Malay Municipal Agriculture Office (MAO).
“Matagal na itong problema sa stray dogs sa Malay. Walang aako sa responsibilidad sa pagpapagamot ‘pag nakakagat na ang kanilang aso (Stray dogs have been a long-standing problem in Malay. No one will be responsible for medical treatment of people bitten by their dogs),” said town councilor Floribar Bautista.
Under the existing ordinance, dog owners are encouraged to register their pets in the barangay for a fee of P300 which cover the cost of dog tag and anti-rabies vaccination. The registration is valid for a year.
Municipal and barangay rabies control and consultative committees are also established to ensure proper, effective, and sustainable implementation of the rabies control ordinance. – Rappler.com