A CLUMP of loose sand lying on the street covering the feces of your neighbor's dog doesn't really bother you. It doesn't worry you until their dog finds its favorite spot and gets rid of its waste right beside a bougainvillea located in your own yard.
Filipinos are pet lovers. Most of the children and young adults adopt what they label as "man's best friend". However, your best friend can be another person's enemy if these pets are not trained.
But often, you think of your pets as objects of affection and nothing else. And the moment you do, you forget that they are living creatures who eat and poo.
"Naay German dira sa unahan nga nagyawyaw kadtong nalibang ang mga iro sa iyang garden (There was one German in the neighborhood who complained about the dogs defecating in his garden.),” says Juanita Mainit, 54, a caretaker of one of the homes in Toscana Subdivision located in Puan, Davao City.
Juanita even mentioned the complainant's plan to put poison on the pavement in front of his garden hoping to get rid of the innocent dogs.
"Mura pud biya na ug tao ang iro (The dogs are like humans.),” she said. She believes that these dogs should not be punished for their offense; rather, their owners should take time in training them.
Any problem could be solved through peaceful means by agreeing to certain conditions. But in other cases, one might consider an option suggested by City Health Office's Chief Sanitary Inspector Robert Oconor.
"You can file a complaint against the owner and have the choice to reveal his or her identity." With the help of his team, Oconor assures immediate action on complaints.
According to penalized act of Ordinance 074-11 published by Davao City News Feed last year, a person will be held liable if his pet dog will defecate in commonly used properties including roads, parks, and playgrounds or "on public properties shall be penalized unless the owner will cause the immediate removal of all feces so deposited by such dog". But the same provision does not apply to blind persons.
The dogs are not held liable, but rather their owners. With patience and enough attention, your pets would not cause any unwanted distraction.
It is without a doubt that every right comes with a responsibility. The next time you let your dog out, make sure it won't send your neighbor muttering about its waste. No one wants his or her yard to be another's toilet. (Ralston San Pedro)