DA Caraga intensifies responsible pet ownership
By Emmylou T. Presilda
BUTUAN CITY, Mar. 5 (PIA) - As Rabies Awareness Month kicks off, the Department of Agriculture (DA) Caraga has intensified its campaign on Responsible Pet Ownership through the conduct of a Walk for a Cause on Tuesday, March 1, here.
Rabies is a contagious and fatal viral disease of dogs and other mammals that causes madness and convulsions, transmissible through the saliva to humans. In more than 99% of human cases, the rabies virus is transmitted by domestic dogs. It occurs mainly in remote rural communities where children between the age of 5–14 years are the most frequent victims.
“Rabies is fatal but it is also preventable,” said Dr. Esther Cardeño, DA-13 Rabies Coordinator. “We need to be responsible pet owners to avoid contamination of the disease,” she added.
Republic Act 9482 or the Anti-Rabies Act of 2007 stipulated that pet owners are required to vaccinate their dogs, maintain control over them and not allow it to roam the street or any public place without a leash. Such is the advocacy of the DA on its Responsible Pet Ownership campaign.
The government's goal is to make the Philippines Rabies-free by year 2020. With four more years from its goal, Caraga has already covered 62 percent of the dog population in the region for vaccination.
“The DA is providing free rabies vaccination to dogs throughout the region in coordination with the Local Government Units, not only on March as Rabies Awareness Month but throughout the year,” Integrated Laboratory Chief John Gamboa said.
Aside from advocating responsible pet ownership, DA also urged LGUs to enact additional local ordinances that will strengthen the National Rabies Prevention and Control Program. In 2014, there were already 53 out of 73 MLGUs/CLGUs who crafted a municipal ordinance in support to rabies control.
Last September 2015, the Province of Dinagat Islands has been declared as Rabies-Free in addition to the municipality of Socorro in Bucas Grande Island, Surigao del Norte which was declared rabies-free in 2014.
According to Cardeño, the Regional Rabies Prevention and Control Program is now working on the possible declaration of additional areas particularly the city of Cabadbaran who has had zero rabies incidence for the last two years. (DA-Caraga/PIA-Caraga)