New law penalizes abandonment of pets
MANILA - The country's new Animal Welfare Act doesn't just outlaw animal maltreatment, but also the mere abandonment of domesticated animals.
This is among the provisions of Republic Act 10631, signed by President Aquino last week amid social media furor over a viral fetish video that showed 3 women stepping on and crushing a puppy.
The video has been circulating on various websites in the past week, resulting in numerous angry remarks on the Internet.
Section 6 of the bill states: "It shall be unlawful for any person to torture any animal, to neglect to provide adequate care, sustenance or shelter or maltreat any animal or to subject any dog or horse to dog fights or horsefights, kill or cause or procure to be tortured or deprived of adequate care, sustenance or shelter or maltreat or use the same in research or experiments not expressly authorized by the committee on animal welfare."
Section 7 states: "It shall be unlawful for any person who has custody of an animal to abandon the animal. If any person being the owner or having charge of control of any animal shall without reasonable cause or excuse abandon it, whether permanently or not, without providing for the care of that animal, such act shall constitute maltreatment under section 9. If the animal is left in circumstances likely to cause the animal any unnecessary suffering, or if this abandonment results in the death of the animal, the person liable shall suffer the maximum penalty."
The same law prescribes penalties and fines of up to 2 years and 100,000 pesos depending on the effect on the animal.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said abandonment of domesticated animals is now an offense.
Rochelle Regodon, Asian campaigner for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), earlier said the video that circulated in social networks was actually two to four years old and the perpetrators behind it were already in jail.
PETA had played a crucial role in the investigation of a Filipino couple who had been producing videos for sale, showing small animals being crushed to death, she said.
The couple had been in jail since August 2012 for the videos with some of the girls in the video even testifying against them, Regodon said.
PETA and other animal welfare groups said they were encouraged by the outrage since it showed Filipinos did not tolerate animal abuse.
The executive director of the Philippine Animal Welfare Society Anna Cabrera said she was happy with the stronger penalties.
"It will discourage and give a warning to those who make a business out of animal cruelty," she said. -- With a report by Agence France-Presse