The City Veterinary Office (CVO) on Thursday rejected criticisms that its personnel manhandled an elderly woman and her pet dog on July 8 along Rizal Avenue, after a video of the incident went viral on the internet.
CVO chief Dr. Indira Santiago said Thursday that there was “no mishandling of the situation” because based on what she saw, their personnel did not manhandle the pet owner.
“Kung ako ang titingin, base sa aking pagka-unawa, base sa nakita ko, wala namang pangangaladkad. Dinala ko rin sa pulis ang video na dinownload namin that same day. Sabi ng pulis dapat nga siya pa ang kasuhan kasi nga inagaw niya ang aso at that moment”, said Santiago.
The incident was caught on video by a netizen who posted it on Facebook.
The netizen who requested anonymity gave the video to Palawan News. It showed some city pound employees scuffling with the elderly woman who wanted to free her dog from their catching net.
Santiago did not name her nor their employees, but she said the video failed to show even half of what really happened on that morning.
“Wala naman kaming nakita na kinaladkad ang matanda, kung tutuusin nga nakita namin sa end ng video na nakawala silang pareho. Sabi ko pakitingnan ninyo ito kung ang City Vet ba ay may violation sa inyong pananaw, kasi sabi nga dapat pa-imbestigahan,” said Santiago.
Santiago said it was not the first time that the same pet was caught by the city pound. The dog had already been impounded thrice just within the first few months of the year.
She added that the old woman had already been warned before not to let her dog out on the road without a leash.
“Tatlong beses na kasi nahuli ng dog pound ‘yon, may mga complaints kasi dyan sa Fernandez na may mga aso diyan nanghahabol pagdating ng gabi. Noong na-impound una ‘yong aso niya nagpakilala pa siya na kamag-anak daw siya ng isang kagawad. Gumawa siya ng isang promisory note at sinabi niya na kamag-anak nga daw siya ng kagawad ng siyudad at nakiusap na i-release ang aso niya,” said Santiago.
She said the second time the dog was caught, it was still released to the elderly woman.
Santiago said that based on the narrative of their employees, she was not there when they caught her dog. But before the city pound vehicle can move away, she appeared and ran after their dogcatchers.
“Wala siya doon sa area, tapos noong nakita niyang nasilo na ‘yong aso niya, hinabol niya at dinapaan niya. Pero ‘yong kinaladkad, wala akong nakita sa video na kinaladkad talaga siya. Siguro inawat lang siya kasi hinahawakan niya ‘yong aso niya na nasa loob pa ng lambat. Hindi pa ‘yon siya ‘yong nasa labas pa ang aso niya tapos sinisilo. Nasilo na ‘yong aso niya,” she pointed out.
She said they have not received any formal complaint from the woman.
Santiago also said the video is “unfair” because they have no platform to defend themselves against the accusations posted in the social media.
Netizen Marian Delos Santos Manuel accused the city pound employees of cruelty for catching a dog while with its owner.
“Ang lulupit nman ng mga taong ‘yan. ‘Yong pagala-galang aso na walang kasamang amo ang hulihin,” Manuel said.
Jenelyn C. Abalona, another netizen, said the dog pound personnel should be humane enough in the treatment of the stray dogs they catch.
She said the elderly woman and dog are also familiar with her, often seeing them together near a gas station in the area.
“Sila ‘yong nasa harap ng Petron sa Rizal. Inaalagaan naman po ‘yan (dog) ni manang. Saka sana maging makatao naman sa paghuli sa hayop. Saka kasama ng hayop ang amo niya. Dapat sana pinagsabihan na lang siya ng maayos. Sana napansin ito ng city. Napansin nila kung paano trinato ng mga tauhan nila ang mga hayop at amo nito,” she said.
Under Republic Act 9482 or the Anti-Rabies Act of 2007, pet owners have the responsibility to ensure that their dogs do not roam streets or any public places without their leashes.
Even if they are out with their owners, the city pound can catch the dogs when they are not on their leashes.
Santiago mentioned it was only this year when one of their staff was beaten using a 2×2-inch wood at work.
The personnel was beaten by a dog-owner who refused to let his wandering dog be taken to the pound. His arm was injured, causing him to spend days in the hospital to recover.
“Ang pakiusap ko nga na huwag doon sa Facebook kasi hindi kami makasagot doon. Kaya nga sinasabi ko, mag-reklamo kayo ng pormal, sasagot kami ng pormal once and for all,” said Santiago.