Saturday, September 13, 2014
Ilo-ilo's Dogs Very Best Friends
Dogs are often considered man’s best friend, although, in truth, not a few of the animals often find themselves abandoned or neglected. However, of late, such unfortunate dogs in Iloilo have found a virtual best friend in Anna Maria Rivera-Wharton.
“We are saving (dog) lives, one tail at a time,” said Rivera-Wharton, a businesswoman who, last year, established Animal Welfare Association (AWA)-Iloilo to address the growing number of stray dogs being left to die in the city.
“The sorry condition of the dogs bothered me,” she said. “They are abused, neglected, killed, and even eaten.”
The dog-lover added, “Looking at them on a daily basis breaks my heart while the government is not doing anything.”
With Rivera-Wharton on the lead, AWA-Iloilo volunteers have sought out sickly dogs and have found foster parents nursing the canines back to good health.
She admitted that volunteerism is not enough and it is also a herculean task to sustain the program.
AWA-Iloilo volunteers have to strengthen their networking by lobbying for donations to fund the medical treatment of the sickly dogs they find.
The volunteer group is also lobbying with the city government of Iloilo to reestablish the dog pound, which has been shut down.
Rivera-Wharton pointed out that having a dog pound is mandated by Republic Act No. 8485 or the Animal Welfare Act of 1998.
“AWA-Iloilo is not only here to rescue animals,” she said, “we are also here to change mindsets.”
“We want Iloilo to be an animal-friendly city,” Rivera-Wharton added.
Recently, AWA-Iloilo found a place in Mandurriao district that will become a permanent shelter for the neglected dogs.
While it is still short of money in fully fixing up the dog shelter, AWA-Iloilo intends to move the stray dogs there by next month.
Aside from dogs, AWA-Iloilo, of late, has also taken care of cats.
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