Last Aug.18 was the first National Aspin Day in the Philippines, an observance launched by the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (Paws).
Aspin is the colloquial contraction of “asong Pinoy,” a term preferred by advocates of animal welfare to replace the “askal (asong kalye),” pejorative for mongrels roaming the streets.
The community is needed to give teeth to the amended Animal Welfare Act or Republic Act (RA) 10631.
Section 2 declares unlawful any act to torture or kill an animal except in certain instances. Section 7 in the amended law equates the abandonment of an animal to maltreatment.
The recent case of Bonbon, an aspin who recently survived the perversity of the person or persons who impaled a knife on its head, demonstrates the need for stricter enforcement of RA 10631.
In the Cebu City mountain barangay of Bonbon, residents first saw a stray dog roaming the community with a knife partially buried in its head. Unable to catch the dog, father and son took a photo of the injured aspin and posted on social media.
Compassion for the injured dog mobilized citizens and animal welfare advocates into initiating a search; finding the dog; bringing it for treatment by veterinarians; crowdfunding to cover the expenses of the procedures; and sponsoring the rehabilitation of the stray named Bonbon by netizens.
Social media is crucial for alerting citizens and mobilizing civic involvement in intervening for cases of animal neglect, cruelty, maltreatment and abandonment.
Many online communities and public groups, such as Proud Aspin Lovers-Philippines, draw hundreds of thousands of followers that support the advocacy of valuing aspin and puspin (“pusang Pinoy” or local cats) companions.
These portals bring awareness to individuals feeding stray animals on the streets, as well as calls for possible owners or adopters of homeless animals.
The reified message is that the streets are not safe for any being.
Human responsibility is emphasized for all beings to co-exist safely and harmoniously, without motorists’ recklessness resulting in senseless roadkill and owner irresponsibility leading to victims of dog bites and rabies.
Through self-regulation, social media netizens monitor and expose scams carried out to exploit people’s love of dogs and cats. Animal welfare advocates posted and shared notes to warn netizens of the gambit attempted by the unscrupulous to exploit the crowdfunding efforts for Bonbon.
Through networks on social media, persons feeding strays on the streets often get donations of dog food to enable them to sustain their street feeding campaigns.
However, the best response is for a person or a family to rescue or adopt a stray and save it from a life of uncertainty and vulnerability on the streets.
“The streets” often represents not just random acts of violence by individuals drives them to target animals that cannot always run away or defend themselves.
Much of human cruelty stems from greed and profiteering. There are unethical breeders with their illegal “puppy mill” practices of inducing dams to reproduce puppies and kittens for sale without consideration of the health of the mother and offspring.
There are groups organizing dog fights and snatching pets to be fenced. There are mentally sick individuals who torture animals to create social media content that is lucrative among audiences addicted to explicit violence.
The Cebu City Council has asked the police to investigate and bring the perpetrator or perpetrators of Bonbon’s torture to justice.
Cruelty to animals is a red flag for depravity that can easily be turned on a fellow human being. Thus, animal welfare is kin to humanity and civilization, linking society to dogs, cats and other sentient beings we share space with.
MILK OF NURTURE AND KINDNESS. In our concern for the welfare of the vulnerable among us, we should never cease to seek out and embrace dogs and cats as deserving of homes as humans. (SunStar file)
November 13, 2022
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