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PIA Press Release

Over 4T stray dogs in Cebu City impounded in past 8 months

Cebu City (14 September) -- Over 4,500 stray dogs have been impounded by the Cebu City's Department of Veterinary Medicine and Fisheries for the last eight months this year in its ongoing efforts to be rabies-free by 2010.

City veterinarian Dr. Alice Utlang said from January to August this year, about 4,726 stray dogs have been picked up by their roving dog impounding team, as their hard efforts showed an 83 percent increase in the number of stray dogs impounded compared to last year's figure of 2,576 total impounded dogs.

Out of the 4,726 impounded dogs, almost 1,500 of the animals were claimed by their owners, Utlang disclosed.

When they first implemented the stray dog impounding program in 2005 as one measure in their anti-rabies campaign, Utlang said they were able to collar 3,773 stray dogs of which 630 were surrendered to owners. Last year however, the team only picked up 2,576 stray dogs due to the constant breakdown of the rented impounding vehicle, this is said.

Impounded dogs that have not been claimed by their owners will be euthanized through a gas chamber.

Only 11 animal rabies cases meanwhile, were recorded for the past eight months, a decrease of 59 percent as for the same period last year from January to August, 27 cases were documented, Utlang declared.

"Cebu City has zero human rabies case," Utlang stressed.

Utlang attributed the decline in animal rabies cases to their 24-hour seven-days-a-week non-stop stray dog impounding operations where they concentrate their strategy on 'search and destroy' method.

The "search and destroy" strategy is applied to areas that have known positive animal rabies cases where their team focus their sights on stray dogs for impounding to halt the possible spread of the rabies virus, this is learned.

Utlang advised dog owners to vaccinate their dogs from rabies and place a collar around their necks as a form of security that the animals are owned and should not be impounded.

Utlang said since late 2005, they have already implemented the 'dog registration upon vaccination' program while this year, a total of 6,269 dogs have already been vaccinated. Cebu City has an estimated 70T dog population based on a survey, Utlang revealed.

The city veterinarian however, said vaccination alone is not effective to counter the anti-rabies problem as responsible ownership is a huge factor where owners themselves take genuine care of their dogs and not allow them on the loose as rabies infection can be possible.

Rabies vaccination is done per barangay where one pays P150 for the vaccination including the dog tag as proof that the animal has been registered, Utlang further said.

Four components have been implemented under its anti- rabies campaign in Cebu City which includes the information and education drive, dog control and vaccination.

Utlang said the city has available vaccines all-year round as she urged dog owners to have their dogs vaccinated and immediately coordinate with their barangay captains to know the schedule of their area. (PIA-Cebu/FCR) [top]

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