MANILA, Philippines — The parties responsible for the deaths of 30 dogs being transported to a show could face up to 90 years in jail and fines of up to P7.5 million, Senator Francis Pangilingan said Tuesday, December 12.
At the same time, Pangilinan, in a statement, took the Philippine Canine Club Inc. to task, describing its response to the incident as “sorely lacking amid the tragic fate suffered by the dogs.” He cited the organization’s “incident statement,” in which “the club merely said it will have a trial board ‘to immediately commence a speedy and impartial investigation on the matter’.”
“While we respect the club’s internal processes, it must be noted that the incident violated certain provisions of Republic Act 10631 or the Amended Animal Welfare Act,” Pangilinan pointed out.
“The negligent person should not face mere suspension but penalties imposed by the law if proven guilty,” he stressed.
“It’s time to stop treating animals as mere commodities. How we regard animals show our capacity for empathy and decency, kindness and humanity,” the senator said.
Pangilinan recalled that as chair of the Senate agriculture committee in the 15th Congress, “we worked hard to have the original law amended to give it more teeth against violators and to make it more responsive in protecting and promoting animal welfare.”
“Sections 3 and 4 of the law deal with the supervision and regulation of establishments, including those involved in training of dogs and in their transport,” he noted. “Section 7 says that a liable person shall suffer the maximum penalty if guilty of leaving an animal in circumstances likely to cause, or if this abandonment results in, its death. Section 9 details the various penalties for violation of the law, ranging from 6 months’ jail time and/or P30,000 fine to 3 years’ jail time and/or P250,000 fine.”
Thus, “if 30 dogs died in the incident as reported, that would be 30 counts, with maximum penalties of up to 90 years’ imprisonment and/or P7.5 million fine,” he explained.