1. Research and Documentation
Research and documentation is currently being undertaken by Linis Gobyerno in coordination with The Junction Regional Newspaper. This will be a continuous process, in that all the developments shall be recorded, and all aspects of the dog meat trade should have been covered and addressed. The output of the research and documentation shall reflect the outcome of the entire project and its individual components.
Part of this program is a production of a handbook that documents the entire process. This can be a guide for other groups faced with the same problems, who would want to replicate the project in their respective countries.
2. Public Information and Education
Public information and education is needed so that the populace will be informed of the following:
2.1 that a law, the Animal Welfare Act is in place which criminalizes cruelty to
2.2 that eating of dog meat can be harmful to one’s health
2.3 that dogs are man’s best friend, and that they should be treated humanely This program component is also ongoing, in coordination with The Junction Regional Newspaper.
The legal aspect is intertwined with the research and documentation component. Linis Gobyerno shall be the complainant in all cases that will be filed against the violators. A private counsel to coordinate closely with Linis Gobyerno’s legal counsel, will be hired. Linis Gobyerno will be involved from the raid and apprehension, to filing of the necessary complaints and cases, and court hearings. This has to be done to see to it that violators will be fined and penalized to the maximum (as allowed for by law).
4. Establishment of a Dog Shelter (Halfway House and Rehabilitation Center)
The WCK Half Way House and Dog Rehabilitation Center was already started (albeit crudely). We named it WCK which stands for Winsome Constance Kindness, giving recognition to the group which started the ball rolling for the project.
A local resident has also donated a 1,000 sq. m. property at Itogon, Benguet, for use as the shelter’s permanent location. The property is 9 kilometers away from the Baguio City, and is very conducive for the dogs recovery and rehabilitation.
The proposed shelter will have so many needs, the biggest so far is the physical structure.
5. Spaying and Neutering Program
This program component will initially start with the dogs under the shelter’s custody (i.e. those recovered from police and legal operations), then will expand to the dogs under the custody of the City Dog Pound, which is under the supervision of the City Veterinary’s Office.
This is not a common practice in the Philippines considering the high cost involved. The procedure would cost around Php1,500.00 to Php2,000.00 or US$30.00- 40.00 (depending on the weight of the dog). The procedure entails administering of general anesthesia to the dog, and 24 hours monitoring (pre, intra, and post operation).
6. Tagging Program
Tagging is needed for identification purposes, most especially so that the recovered dogs (evidence) are the subject of the legal suits against the violators of the Animal Welfare Act. It is important to be able to have proper documentation on the dogs, such as where and when were they recovered, and who adopted them.
Tagging, like spaying and neutering is not a common practice in the Philippines, particularly in Baguio City. At this point, we are still seeking the help of professionals and animal welfare groups and shelters in the Philippines and in other countries, on the best possible means of tagging.
7. Adoption Program
Since the subject dogs are street dogs more commonly known in the Philippines as askals (asong kalye) or mongrels, the people are not receptive to adopting them. People still have reservations when it comes to adopting mature dogs vis-a-vis adopting a pedigreed puppy, in that they believe that they can no longer teach the dog, or that the loyalty of the dog is with his/her former owner.
That is why adoption is one program in itself that is again intertwined with other components of the project such as public information, spaying/neutering, and tagging. The shelter has to make the dogs adoptable, hence the need for treating the diseases and illnesses, and helping the dogs trust people again.
One basic characteristic of the dogs recovered from traders and slaughterhouses is their sad and untrusting disposition. It may take months for some of them to retain their gentle nature. It is at this point that they will become eligible for adoption for better retention.
Another aspect of the adoption is the post-adoption visits. We have to make sure that the dogs are doing well with their new families.
For a start, the first adopters will be the members of Linis Gobyerno, as we know our members very well. Aside from this, we want to be an example. We want to show to the populace that it is safe to adopt street dogs. As the old saying goes, if we want to effect change in the community, we should start within the family.