DOG DAZE By Kathy Moran (The Philippine Star) Updated August 21, 2010 12:00 AM

In life, there is always hope — and if we truly believe, good things happen.

For those of us who have been fighting for the re-study of Administrative Order 21 (AO 21), which allows for the tambucho-gassing to death of pound dogs as a way of putting them down, good news has finally arrived.

The office of Agriculture Secretary Prospero Alcala has just confirmed that AO 13 (that is the new AO number for the Revised Rules on Euthanasia of Animals, replacing AO21) has been referred back to the Committee on Animal Welfare (CAW) for review and reconsideration.

We continue to wait, and hope, that Secretary Alcala, through the CAW, will re-study very carefully the methods of putting down animals, not just those in pounds, but animals anywhere they may be.

It is my hope that methods like tambucho-gassing and other cruel methods of ending an animal’s life are all removed. 
After all, euthanasia, as I understand it, is about ending the life of an animal in a humane way.

The members of the CAW are:

1. Philippine Veterinary Medical Association

2. Veterinary Practitioners Association of the Philippines (VPAP)

3. Philippine Animal Hospital Association (PA HA)

4. Philippine College of Canine Practitioners (PCCP)

5. Philippine Society of Animal Science (PSAS)

6. Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG)

7. Department of Education (DepEd)

8. Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) of the Department of Agriculture (DA)

9. Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)

10. National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS)

11. Philippine Society of Swine Practitioners (PSSP)

12 The Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS)

13  Prevention of the Cruelty to Animals (PSPCA)

When AO 21 was first passed, PAWS and PSPCA were the only groups that opposed tambucho-gassing of pound dogs, sadly, they were outvoted.

Anna told me that she met last week with Representative Irvin Alcala of the second district of Lucena City. Anna presented to Alcala the side of the animal welfare groups against AO21. After the meeting, Alcala met with his father, Agriculture Secretary Alcala.

“We are very happy that Secretary Alcala has heeded the public outcry over the tambucho-killing to retract the Administrative Order,” says Anna.

As of Aug. 16, the Agriculture Secretary officially tossed back the AO to CAW for review and reconsideration.

“This is good news for animal welfare advocates who have renewed hope that the CAW will now take out tambucho-gassing from the approved methods of euthanasia,” adds Anna.  “CAW will meet soon to discuss the issue.”

Yes, dear doggies, there is hope in this country.

The Real Heroes

And here is more good news. 

Regardless of what the AO says, the following cities have chosen to take the compassionate path by not using tambucho-gassing as a way of getting rid of unclaimed stray dogs in their pounds:

Mandaluyong City — The city has received a commendation from PAWS for having an active adoption and re-homing program in their pound. Mayor Benjamin Abalos Jr. met with PAWS officers telling them of his plans to train the unclaimed dogs as bomb sniffers and police dogs.  This was long before the Philippine National Police came up with a similar plan

Makati City — Dogs are put down through the injection of sodium pentobarbital or Euthal, and absolutely no dog is tambucho-gassed. Dr. Vivien “Pinky” Manalastas says that Mayor Jun-Jun Binay, like his father, Vice President Jejomar Binay, is a staunch advocate of responsible pet ownership and does not want any pound dog suffering under his watch.

Marikina City — Dr. Manuel “Bobot” Carlos says that Marikina has not used any other method of euthanasia except for injection of barbiturates ever since he became city veterinarian.

Quezon City — Mayor Herbert Bautista texted Anna of PAWS to inform them that he fully supports the campaign against tambucho-gassing, and that Quezon City will continue to uphold animal welfare and responsible pet ownership.

Bacoor Cavite — So supportive is Bacoor Mayor Strike Revilla of animal welfare that he organized the Strike Animal Welfare Society (SAWS), and put it under the management of concerned private citizen and PAWS volunteer Aileen de Guzman. 

SAWS operations and educational campaigns are closely patterned after PAWS. SAWS gets advice and legal assistance for some neglect and cruelty cases from PAWS

Province of Batangas — Governor Vilma Santos-Recto has issued a statement through provincial veterinarian Dr. Marvin L. Rocafort that she will never allow tambucho-killing in the province of Batangas.
“It is inhumane,” says the lady governor. She is very upset at news of the dogs killed using vehicle-exhaust fumes. “We have to be compassionate and we have to do the right thing.”

Dr. Rocafort could not agree more. He has spearheaded efforts to prevent the animal cruelty by organizing proper and humane dog-catching for Cuenca personnel, in cooperation with PAWS, and has also recently organized a successful free pet spay-neuter program in Inoslaban, Batangas with Animal Kingdom Foundation (AKF) and PAWS.