Quezon City Ordinance No. 2386, authored by Councilors Raquel Malañgen and Jessica Castelo Daza, limits to only four the number of pets a household may keep. This is an insensitive law that ignores the feelings not only of their owners but also of the pets themselves. The authors should be ashamed of themselves! Ordinance No. 2386 is nothing but an expression of “man’s inhumanity to animals.”
Through the last five years or more, my family has all in all taken care of three dogs and 12 cats. The number of cats varied from year to year, though remaining almost the same.
A friend gave us our three dogs as gifts. The cats walked into our small compound unbidden, hungry and sickly. Two of them were almost dead from infected wounds caused either by other animals or by human beings.
Through these years, we nursed their physical wounds and soothed their mistrust and fear of human beings. We also spent a good amount of money for doctor’s fees and medicine.
Today, every one of those 12 cats is healthy and happy. They also provide us happiness as they romp around our small compound, engage in mock battles and make love. They teach us that it is fine to be alive and that we should not fret over small stuff too much.
In order to ensure proper sanitation, we scrub with recommended chemicals their stomping ground and where they leave their mess. The strong water pressure from Maynilad helps remove the bad smell of their poo-poo.
When our pets die, we bury them in our front garden canopied by bougainvillea plants that are at times in full bloom with red-blood flowers.
We’ve learned that cats and dogs are capable of being faithful and constant in their love. Unlike human beings, they don’t have a bad day or a bad mood as long as they are assured of their food, give them a pat on their heads and a hug once in a while. At times when we spank them for bad behavior they just slink away and keep quiet in their own corners. We’ve also seen many times how our cats nourish their young, always ready to suckle them any time of the day or night. Likewise, they never stray very far from their young to ensure 24 hours’ protection.
And now, here comes this insensitive 2386. It is not only cruel; it fails to answer the following questions: (1) What will you do with the pets that are in excess of the imposed limit of four pets per household? (2) Will you make available adequate space for the thousands of pets that will fall victim to 2386, so that they will not suffer trauma or culture shock upon their transfer to a totally different environment managed by people they don’t recognize? (3) Will the government of Quezon City provide these pets with similar care and love that their former owners gave them? (4) When the Quezon City government runs out of funds allocated for their wellbeing or just simply gets tired of them, will you guarantee continued assistance or will you put them to sleep because they have become a financial burden?
Pet owners are committed to the care of their pets. They are also aware that it is their responsibility to ensure that their pets do not cause harm to people in the community. Although it is a fact that there are pet owners who neglect to have their pets immunized from rabies, etc., I’m sure that often the main reason behind their seeming irresponsibility is their financial limitations. But this is not a valid reason to tear these pets away from them. Rather, they should be allowed some liberality to comply with government requirements in due time. But separating the pets from their owners is clearly wicked.
This may be difficult to understand for people who are insensitive to animals and their care. But animals teach us to be more human. In fact, some animals are more “human” than some human beings I know.
Carlos D. Isles, writer, poet and a professional harmonica player with a degree in philosophy from San Jose Seminary (Ateneo de Manila), was a consultant of World Bank- and ADB-funded community development projects in Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the Philippines.
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