IMBERLY JANE T. TAN, GMA News

In a landmark case, a Quezon City court on Thursday convicted a student from the University of the Philippines (UP) for killing a cat in 2009.

Anna Cabrera, executive director for the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), said that UP Physics major Joseph Carlo Candare pleaded guilty to violating Republic Act 8485 or the Animal Welfare Act of 1998 before the Quezon City Metropolitan Court Branch 40 on Thursday (May 12, 2011).

Candare incurred the wrath of animal welfare advocates after he killed a cat named “Tengteng” at the UP National Institute of Physics on April 13, 2009. On the same day, he wrote about what happened on his blog, sparking an online hate campaign against him.

“He killed the cat for no reason at all. We got wind of it in a few days and we tracked him down. He was just 19 then,” Cabrera told GMA News Online in a phone interview on Friday. PAWS was the one who filed the case against Candar

Cabrera said Candare initially did not take their case seriously, until a warrant of arrest was issued against him for failing to show up during the hearings. She said the UP student paid a P4,000-bail so that he wouldn’t be sent to jail.

On Thursday (May 12, 2011), the PAWS executive director said Candare seemed to have really reflected about what he had done so they did not object to the his appeal not to send him to jail. The court later on ordered him to just pay a fine of P2,000. He volunteered to work for PAWS.

“I think to his credit, Joseph Candare wants to change. I think he has learned his lesson,” she said.

Section 6 of RA 8485 states that “it shall be unlawful for any person to torture any animal, to neglect to provide adequate care, sustenance or shelter, or maltreat any animal.”

Section 8 of the same law says that any person who violates the provisions of this act shall be punished by imprisonment of not less than six months but not more than two years or a fine of not less than P1,000 but not more than P5,000, or both depending on the court.

Cabrera said Candare’s experience should serve as a lesson for other people who torture or kill animals.

“Animal cruelty is a serious thing,” she said.

“When we help pursue cases against animal cruelty, we’re helping people from turning violent. It’s not just a victory for animal welfare advocates but for our society,” she added.

Candare is expected to begin his volunteer work at PAWS on Saturday (May 14, 2011). He is also expected to attend animal senstivity trainings. — TJD, GMA News

NOTES FROM PAWS:
1.  Candare will be monitored when he does volunteer work at the shelter.
2.  PAWS is working on the lobby for stiffer penalties for animal offenders and better implementation of the Animal Welfare Act.
3.  Volunteers – regardless of what you may feel about Candare – you are not allowed to say bad things to him while he is doing shelter work. Please exercise civility and restraint, and follow PARC volunteer guidelines.
4. We need your help to continue our work – about a dozen cruelty cases are being handled by a handful of  lawyer and non-lawyer volunteers who are not paid for their work. Please consider being a Supporting Member by clicking on a Monthly Donation button http://www.paws.org.ph/site/540/default.aspx to subsidize even just the transport allowances for people doing the lobbying and attending the hearings. Pending cases include: dog bludgeoned to death in Pasay, dog-shooting in Taytay, dogfight in Antipolo, cat-shooting in Caloocan, dog bludgeoned to death in Caloocan, dog neglect in Cavite, among others.

 We will get JUSTICE for animals and prevent animal cruelty through education and prosecution.