Local health authorities here reported that there was a thirty six percent increase in dog bits in the city last year compared to the recorded similar incidents during the previous year.
Dr. Donabel Panes, Medical Officer IV of the City Health Services Office, disclosed that while there was a decline in reported illnesses in the city last year, it was unfortunate that incidents of dog bites increased more than three-folds where most of the same happened inside the residences or compound of the dog bite victims.
Based on the data made available by the local health office, there were some 3,520 dog bit incidents that were reported in the city last year compared to the 2,704 dog bite incidents recorded during the preceding year.
Panes stipulated that since 2004, there no rabies cases that were reported in the city because of the local government’s aggressive anti-rabies campaign to prevent the presence of rabid dogs and individuals that are bitten by the said animals.
For her part, City Veterinarian Dr. Brigit Piok urged dog owners in the city to have their pets vaccinated against rabies to prevent the prevalence of rabid dogs that pose a serious threat to the safety of the people in their neighborhood.
She claimed that the local government intends to vaccinate some 60,000 dogs in the city this year but it is really difficult to ascertain the population of dogs in the city, thus, the need for the pet owners to register their dogs and cats for the realization of the appropriate database on the actual number of dogs in the city’s barangays.
Last year, the city was able to vaccinate some 50,015 dogs and cats in the city through the help of the different barangay officials and pet owners who had their pets vaccinated against rabies to prevent the proliferation of rabid dogs in the barangays.
According to her, the upcoming implementation of the ordinance on responsible pet ownership will serve as a motivation for personnel of the City Veterinary and Agriculture Office (CVAO) to intensify the anti-rabies campaign and to ensure the registration of pets in the city’s 128 barangays.
She encouraged pet owners to have their pets vaccinated and spend a minimal amount rather than spending tens of thousands of pesos for the anti-rabies vaccination of individual that are bitten by rabid animals in their neighborhood.
Piok emphasized the importance of registering their pets with the concerned office of the local government so that pet owners will be issued with the appropriate documents indicating their ownership of their pets and to ensure that perpetrators of dog bites could be immediately traced once they possess the required dog tags or microchips containing the identities of the owners.
With the celebration of Rabies Prevention Month in March, she appealed to pet owners to avail of the ongoing rabies vaccination program that is being undertaken by the city which are specific schedules in the different barangays to ensure that their pets will be free from the deadly illness that pose a serious threat to the lives of people that are bitten by rabid animals that continue to proliferate in their neighborhood. By Dexter A. See