Iloilo City passes animal welfare ordinance

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

The Iloilo City Council unanimously approved an ordinance aimed at protecting and promoting animal welfare during its regular session on Wednesday, July 3.

City Councilor Miguel S. Treñas, the author of the ordinance, emphasized the need to establish a comprehensive legislative framework to regulate the companion animal trade, promote responsible pet stewardship, and monitor zoonotic diseases and other animal welfare concerns.

“We want to ensure the humane treatment and protection of animals in the city, regulate the keeping of companion animals, provide for the rescue and rehabilitation of stray animals, and enforce acts of cruelty, maltreatment, or neglect of animals,” he said.

The City Veterinarian Office (CVO) has been designated as the lead office in implementing the ordinance.

Among its tasks is the regulation of domestic animals and the rehabilitation of stray animals, particularly those that are ownerless, unregistered, or uncared for.

The CVO is also mandated to establish a disease investigation, surveillance, reporting, and appraisal network for animal disease intelligence.

The Iloilo City Pound and Animal Shelter (ICPAS) in Brgy. Calahunan, Mandurriao, will also be managed and operated by the CVO. ICPAS is set to undergo major repairs to accommodate more rehabilitated dogs.

Treñas noted that the ICPAS will function as a temporary holding area for newly captured or impounded stray animals, providing care and facilitating record-keeping, transfer, or adoption.

A Task Force for Animal Welfare Enforcement will also be created to apprehend violators and conduct regular compliance inspections.

The CVO will also be the lead implementer of the city’s Rabies Prevention and Control Program, which includes mass vaccination of dogs and cats, establishing a central database for registered and vaccinated animals, and managing unregistered, stray, and unvaccinated animals.

As a preventive measure for the proliferation of rabies, pet owners are required to ensure regular rabies vaccination for their pets and maintain a registration card with vaccination records.

All dogs and cats aged three months and older are required to undergo mandatory rabies vaccination and register with the CVO annually.

To create a comprehensive pet database, the ordinance also ordered the establishment of a Pet Identification and Unified Data Storage with Microchip System. This system will provide each registered pet with a microchip, ensuring permanent, tamper-proof identification and data storage.

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