Animal bite cases in Lapu-Lapu spike

Concerns mount over possible ship-breaking resumption
SunStar Lapu-Lapu City

INCIDENCE of recorded domestic animal bites in Lapu-Lapu City is higher than cases involving stray dogs, according to data from the Lapu-Lapu Animal Bite Treatment Center (ABTC).

Mae Cheryll Tepait, ABTC nurse coordinator, told SunStar Cebu in an interview on Wednesday, July 3, 2024, that most victims of animal bites were bitten by pets.

ABTC data revealed that 86 percent of dog-related bite cases were pet dogs, while the remaining 14 percent were street dogs.

Tepait attributed the high number of reported bite cases among pet dogs to irresponsible pet ownership and lack of awareness.

“Our pet owners don’t know about responsible pet ownership. They need to be more aware and responsible for their pets,” said Tepait in Cebuano.

For cat-related bite cases, pet cats accounted for 27 percent, while strays made up 73 percent of the total.

In January, 1,693 cases were recorded, only to shoot up in April and May, recording 2,397 and 2,746 cases, respectively.

“In April and May, the bite cases really increased. One factor is the environment, especially during summertime, but there are still cases even on rainy days,” said Tepait.

“Another contributing factor is the dog population. Next is the awareness that we have an animal bite center,” she added.

Lapu-Lapu has reported 9,810 bite cases from January to May this year, already surpassing half of the total 18,015 bite cases in 2023.

Vaccination shortage

Although free canine vaccinations are available in the city, Tepait noted a shortage of vaccines due to the high number of bite cases.

Tepait said their P10 million budget for 2024 is running out due to the demand for vaccines from April to the first week of June.

To address this, ABTC is proposing to coordinate with the Lapu-Lapu City Veterinary Office and intensify information campaigns on rabies prevention and control programs.

Another recommendation is to amend and implement the Responsible Pet Ownership of 2007, or Republic Act 9482, a program aimed at informing about the dangers of rabies and safety precautions to prevent similar cases.

ABTC also requested an additional budget for the program to enable the City to eradicate rabies, with the goal of making Lapu-Lapu rabies-free. / DPC

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