AUGUST 2, 2008
(STAR) By Charlie Lagasca – The hard times are taking their toll even on man’s best friend.

As the incidence of poverty increases, residents here have been turning to their dogs for food and for additional income in the face of rising prices.

According to a resident here, with less money for food and other basic commodities, they have been forced either to butcher their dogs for sale as meat or to sell their dogs live in order to have additional sources of income to meet their daily needs.

Poverty has also led to increased incidents of dog thefts in various neighborhoods. The canines are then sold later to dog eaters and restaurants.

“Dog butchering is reprehensible and I grossly detest such activities. But who are we to blame those who butcher dogs for food when we know that they are all doing this due to their dire economic situation,” said local labor leader Norma Navoa.

Another resident here who transformed his front yard into a makeshift carinderia said that they were able to make ends meet since they started selling dog dishes.

At least two dogs, the resident said, were being butchered per day in the carinderia to satisfy the demand of customers.

Except for customs and tradition purposes, butchering or maltreating dogs is punishable by law under the Animal Welfare Act. However, despite the law, many still resort to selling and butchering dogs for food and as a business.

Based on the a new Anti-Rabies Law, tougher penalties are supposed to be imposed on violators, with dog sellers or butchers facing up to four years in jail and a fine of P50,000 per dog butchered.

In other parts of the region, increased sale of dog meat and of live dogs has also been reported.

Dog meat is reportedly being sold at P100 to 200 per kilo or at least P600 per live dog depending on the weight.

This situation was mostly noted in urban areas where incidence of poverty is worse than in the rural areas.

While there were no official statistics of dogs being stolen here, more and more dog owners have complained of rampant dognapping and this has been manifested by the number of dogs being rescued elsewhere.

Just this week, 18 dogs were saved from the butcher in neighboring Nueva Ecija.

This came a few days after almost a hundred dogs were reportedly rescued in Pangasinan while they were being readied for transport to numerous kitchenettes specializing in dog dishes in Benguet.

Health experts have stressed that eating dog meat may be dangerous to one’s health.

“Dog meat is not totally safe to eat, aside from the fact that it can cause high blood pressure,” said Floro Taguinod of Santiago City, a former dog meat eater.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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