Cebu City sees increase in rabies cases

Cebu City sees increase in rabies cases
SunStar file

AROUND 17 rabies cases have already been recorded in Cebu City, just halfway through 2024, which is about to surpass the 17 total rabies cases recorded in 2023.

In an interview over Facebook Messenger on Monday, June 17, Dr. Alice Utlang, head of the Cebu City Department of Veterinary Medicine and Fisheries (DVMF), said most of these cases involved dogs, noting that the City did not record any cases involving cats.

Utlang said the recorded rabies cases in 2024 came from the barangays Mabolo, Basak San Nicolas, Lahug, Tisa, Cogon, Bulacao, Carreta, Tinago, Barrio Luz, Ermita and Zapatera.

The rabies cases logged in 2023 were from the barangays Guadalupe, Inayawan, Lahug, Punta Princesa, Kinasang-an, Pit-os, Tisa, Tejero and Duljo Fatima.

Over the past seven years, the highest recorded rabies cases in Cebu City was 28 in 2021.

Utlang said the majority of the rabies cases recorded in 2024 involved house dogs.

“In Cebu City, (based on the) survey, 98 percent of the dogs in the streets are owned, but (were) allowed by the owner to roam,” she said.

Utlang reminded dog owners to have their pets immunized against rabies.

Meanwhile, she said they would no longer impound healthy dogs to avoid congestion in the impounding facility in Barangay Adlaon.

“Nganong iro man atong i-punish nga dili man ilang sala gasuroy. It’s the irresponsible owner,” Utlang said.

(Why would we punish the dog? It’s not their fault. It’s the irresponsible owner.)

She said they would temporarily take these healthy dogs, have them vaccinated, and spray paint them to indicate they were already vaccinated.

Utlang said they would prioritize impounding unhealthy and wild dogs.

“Roaming dogs are sociable. They used to coexist with people around. Mamaak lang sila kung imong pasakitan (they would only bite when hurt),” Utlang added.

Penalties

She said under City Ordinance (CO) 2526, pet owners who refused to have their dogs registered and immunized against rabies may face a fine of P2,000.

Meanwhile, dog owners who refuse to have their dogs placed under observation after biting an individual may face a fine of P5,000 and another 5,000 fine for those who will refuse to shoulder the medical expenses of the person bitten by their dog.

Dog owners who refuse to put their dogs on leash when outside of the house may face a fine of P500.

CO 1877 also imposed a P500 fine against those who lock up dogs and cats inside a car, while CO 1361, imposed a P500 fine against pet owners who fail to collect or properly dispose of animal waste in public places. / AML

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