MANILA - The animal control campaign of a barangay in Novaliches, Quezon City titled "Oplan Doghang" drew flak on social media as it urged pet owners to surrender their animals to their local pound.
The Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), in a statement, said the use of the word "dog-hang" as a means of animal control is "wrong," whether the term is an allusion to anti-drug campaign Oplan Tokhang or as a violent act (hang).
"Animal control or collection of strays must be done humanely under the Animal Welfare Act," it said.
"By telling the public to surrender their animals to the pound, Barangay Capri officials encourage pet abandonment instead of educating them to become responsible pet owners."
PAWS also said local government units do not have regular coordination with the group or other animal welfare organizations.
"Pounds do not regularly coordinate with animal welfare groups because they are well aware of the difference between animal control and animal welfare and their areas of responsibility," it said.
"Sadly, majority of the strays collected by pounds are put to death/euthanized because hardly anyone goes to the pound to adopt a pet."
Arnie Cando, a councilor of Barangay Capri in Novaliches, apologized for their campaign's "misleading slogan."
"To all dog lovers in the Philippines and the world, we are very sorry for the misleading slogan we have posted as an action against the rising number of dog bite incidents in our community. We mean no harm to anyone especially the animals concerned," he said in a Facebook post.
"The project [is] aimed to control stray dogs and encourage pet owners who cannot cope with the responsibility of taking care of their fur dolls to surrender them."
Cando said animals brought to their office are given a chance to find a new home, and those not adopted are given to the city veterinary office.
"Please just help us protect our people especially those who don't have enough to buy food for their table (much more anti-rabies vaccines) by helping us take care of stray animals in the surroundings and unwanted pets at homes. Again, we are very sorry," he said.
PAWS, meanwhile, urged the public to adopt strays instead of buying one and to have their pets neutered and kept at home or on a leash.
"Leashing your dog in a public place has nothing to do with whether your pet is well-behaved or aggressive. It is to keep your dog safe from any untoward incident and to keep him under your effective control in the event of an emergency," it said.
As of posting, PAWS' Facebook post has garnered over 9,000 reactions and 6,400 shares.