AN ANIMAL shelter and dog impounding facility worth P2.4 million is in the works in an apparent bid to address Cagayan de Oro City's increasing animal rabies incidents.

The 4.2-hectare facility will rise in Balubal village, Cagayan de Oro City.

City Veterinarian Officer Perla Asis said it will be a state-of-the-art facility based on the standards laid down by the Animal Welfare Act.

Asis said they have also allocated an area where dogs can be buried after being euthanized.

The Anti-Rabies Act of 2007 legalizes euthanasia or “mercy killing” to put an end to the lives of unclaimed and unwanted dogs.

“Gwapo ilang kulungan, komportable sila, naa pa gyud tay clinic ani, with surgery kay naa may mga iro nga dili pud angay ma-euthanize. Ang uban pwede for adoption kung madala pa (Their cages are good, they’re comfortable, there will be a clinic with surgery since there are dogs who will not be euthanized. The other dogs can also be up for adoption),” Asis said.

She said if the stray dogs will not be controlled, they can be a source of rabies and can be a huge problem. These dogs are euthanized using the lethal injection so it is painless, she added.

The city has never had a proper dog impound facility.

It can be recalled that in 2008, the city was put in a bad light after it was reported that the city pound killed strays by drowning and gassing them at the landfill.

In 2014, the city had the highest number of cases of animal rabies across the country, with 32 registered positive animal rabies cases, according to the Bureau of Animal Industry, adding that the city had a high history of rabies samples since 2009 and almost reached 40 cases in 2010.

However in 2015, the City Vet recorded only 19 cases and 18 animal rabies cases in 2016.

Asis said over 36,000 dogs were immunized by its office.

She said as of 2016, the city landed the 5th and 6th place in the animal rabies incidence of the country.

Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno recalled how he felt when he learned that the city landed the top spot in rabies incidence.

“Top notcher kita sa (We are the top notcher in) animal rabies incidents, imagine the embarrassment, how can we attract investors and people to live in our city? Lisod kaayo (It’s difficult),” he said.

“This is mandated by law, dapat as early as 2007, na put-up na kini (it should be put up), we tried to put a dog pound sa atong unang term pero gibabagan man kini, mismo ang purchase sa atong anti-rabies nga tambal gibabagan sad (during the first term we tried to put a dog pound but it was stopped, even the purchase of the anti-rabies medication was also stopped),” he added.

Moreno challenged the City Vet Office to achieve a zero rabies case this year and offered an incentive to villages that can catch the highest number of stray dogs.

“This facility will help us in our campaign to lessen the rabies incidents in the city. Kita dapat ang lowest, dili ko kontento sa number 6 nato nga position (We should be the lowest, I am not contented in our number 6 position). We need to deputize barangays, and maybe even give incentives to those barangays kung kinsay daghan madakpan (where several are captured),” he added.