Saturday, August 6, 2016

PVO warns of stray dogs in Albay; records 40-50 dog bites daily
By Jorge Hallare

LEGAZPI CITY, Aug. 5 (PNA) -- The head of the Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) in Albay has asked Albayanos for help on the problem of stray dogs in the province after PVO recorded its first rabies fatality for the first half of this year, a 12-year-old boy from Camalig town, who was bitten by a stray dog sometime in June.

“Dogs have been seen straying everywhere and in every barangay,” said Provincial Veterinary Officer Dr. Florencio Adonay.

Adonay, in an interview, has raised alarm over the rising cases of animal bites in the province with the estimated 40 to 50 dog bites recorded daily in the entire province.

Albay has designated three animal/dog bite centers -- Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital (BRTTH) here in Legazpi City, Ziga District Hospital in Tabaco City and Josefina Belmonte Duran Memorial Hospital in Ligao City.

“The three animal/dog bite centers have recorded an average of more than 1,000 dog bites every month,” said Adonay.

PVO records estimated the number of dog bites monthly at P1,200 to P1,500.

The number, he said, translates to 7,200 to 9,000 dog bite cases from January to June this year.

Adonay said the 12-year-old boy, who died from rabies, was the first case of fatality recorded by PVO since the start of the year up to the present. PVO records showed that Albay recorded five fatalities due to rabies last year.

“We felt sad after learning that the 12-year-old boy from Taladong village in Camalig (town) died after he was brought to the animal bite center at BRTTH on July 3,” he added.

Adonay said after learning of the bad news, he immediately ordered a surveillance of the dogs straying in Taladong and nearby villages.

“The dog which bit the boy was nowhere to be found,” he said.

Adonay raised the possibility that the dog had inflicted other stray dogs with the rabies virus.

He ordered his staff to coordinate with the village official of Taladong and its nearby villages, especially Mina, where the dog was suspected to have come from.

Adonay said they now plan to have another round of dog vaccination in the area.

He said they conducted vaccination in June in the said villages but admitted that “only 30 dogs were given the anti-rabies shots.”

Adonay said the number was “lower than the ‘over a hundred dogs’ which were put under surveillance last year in the same area.”

He said they have asked the help of the village officials to coordinate with the villagers so the dog owners could catch their pets and stray dogs and have them vaccinated.

Adonay said this year, the provincial government has spent P0.6 million to P0.7 million monthly on anti-rabies vaccines for the over 1,000 victims of dog bites or an estimated P400 to P585 per victim.

The province of Albay has 15 municipalities and three cities --Legazpi, Tabaco and Ligao.

In Legazpi City, Veterinary Officer Dr. Nancy Andes even suggested to the city government to shoot stray dogs with the use of firearms or give euthanasia (mercy killing) drugs to the animal because of the alarming cases of dog bites in nearly all of the 70 villages in the city.

Records showed the dog bite cases in Legazpi City had reached more than 2,500 from January to July in 2015.

Andes had put the blame on the irresponsible dog owners who allowed their pets to stray despite local ordinances passed in the province. (PNA) LAP/GVR/JH/CBD