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The head of the City Veterinary Office (CVO) said they have started the vaccination and capture of stray dogs roaming around villages and subdivisions in the city as part of its “high density vaccination and stray dog elimination” program.

Dr. Nancy Andes, head of CVO, said that from March 1 to 16, they have recorded 2,006 dogs who have been vaccinated in 10 of the 70 villages of Legazpi City.

She said CVO was also able to capture 111 stray dogs which were found roaming around the streets unattended during the same period.

Andes, in an interview, appealed anew to dog owners in the city to be responsible pet owners.

She said the dog owners should put up their own animal pound in their backyards to ensure the dogs could not roam the streets and other public places.

“This is one way of reducing dog bites and preventing spread of rabies cases in the community,” she added.

“All the pet owners are required to register their dogs at their respective barangay halls. The CVO will also issue a dog registration certificate to the pet owners,” she said.

Andes said pet owners should have their registered dogs vaccinated at the age of three months and must always consult a veterinarian on the health status of their animals.

She urged the owners of dogs captured in the streets to claim their pets at CVO or the dogs will either be given up for adoption to other interested pet lovers or impounded at the city’s animal pound in Barangay Banquerohan.

The vaccination and dog elimination program are part of the implementation of the city’s anti-rabies ordinance that supports the national government’s rabies control program.

Pet owners violating the ordinance shall pay a fine of Php 1,000 or imprisonment of 5 to 10 days for the first offense. Second time offenders will pay a fine of Php2,000 or be meted a prison term of 15 to 20 days while third time violators will pay Php3,000 or be jailed from 25 to 30 days.

Anti-rabies vaccination is CVO’s annual activity that seeks to maintain the city’s status as a zero-rabies territory.

Rabies is a virus that may affect the brain and spinal cord of the victim. Patients who manifest the rabies infection show loss of appetite and weakness that could lead to death.

Andes said her office has been conducting annual lectures on “responsible pet ownership” and “rabies awareness” for pet owners during barangay assemblies. (PNA) LAP/GVR/EPS/CBD