Irresponsible Dog Owner

Lodging complaints against irresonsible dog-owner is as easy as 1-2-3, Bohol Rabies Prevention and Eradication Council has made pro-forma complaint sheets that make the move hassle free.

All a complainant needs to do is fill his name and address, check the violation from a list , date, time and place of violation and hand it over to the barangay chairman. Three days later, he should get results.

"With ordinance in place, anybody could easily lodge a complaint against a dog-owner who refused to be responsible with his pet," says provincial veterinarian Stella Marie Lapiz.

Dr. Lapiz, who is also the action officer for the Bohol Rabies Prevention and Eradication Program (BRPEP) said anytime soon, anti-rabies advocates would be leading the drive against dog-owners who would neglect the provisions of the ordinance.

Lapiz refers to the Provincial Ordinance 2007-17 which the provincial junta has passed to legislate a move to strategically confront rabies on a province-wide basis.

This too as the BRPE council has engaged the help of local governments in instituting local anti-rabies councils who would be monitoring dog population control and keeping communities safe from rabies.

Over this, the ordinance has also pushed for the creation of the Bantay Rabies sa Barangay (BRB), a core team composed of the local chairman, secretary, tanod, livestock aide and health worker who would be accepting complaints.

"The Provincial Legal Office (PLO) is helping us craft the complaint forms against five specific violations of the ordinance," shares Dr. Lapiz.

In the complaint forms now available at barangay halls are list of violations one dog-owner may commit to merit the complaint.

The form lists non registration and non vaccination of dogs this year as a ground for a fine of P2,000.

Non permission of owners to have his biting dog observed for medical purposes merits him P10,000 while a spearate fine of P25,000 awaits those who refuse to help pay for the bite victim's medical expenses.

Moreover, owners of a vaccinated dog, or any dog which is found in a public place and is traceable to an owner can be fined P500 fpr every instance.

The ordiance also provides P5,000 and imprisonment provision for people who are caught seiling dog-meat.

By operation of law, anyone who complains to the BRB against any of these provisions would allow the team to call on the responsible dog owner to face the complaint by sending him notice of violation.

Refusal of the complained owner to appear before the BRB causes its elevation to administrative or criminal case while the team now acts as the complainant.

As this moves to final execution next month, BRPE Council hopes to finally get the program attaining an 80% success rating in 2010, with another massive round of dog registration and vaccination this March to finally leash the threat of rabies here.

This is despite the fact that Bohol officials were alarmed over the unusually high incidence of rabies here, one that practically dragged the region into one of the country's top risk areas. - Rey Anthony Chiu, PIA