Sorsogon opens facilities for abandoned animals

By Connie Calipay

Hundreds of stray and abandoned pets such as dogs, cats, and farm animals now have a home in Juban, Sorsogon after the provincial government opened three facilities for them as part of its adherence to the Animal Welfare Act.


In an interview on Feb. 4, Salvador Mendoza, Sorsogon provincial information officer, said the newly inaugurated Provincial Veterinary Office, Animal Shelter Building, and Animal Diagnostics Laboratory are housed in one compound and collectively offer services for the convenience of animal lovers and their pets, such as medical tests, pharmacy, African swine fever (ASF) laboratory test, surgery, animal shelter and isolation, and consultation.


He said stray animals that will be turned over to the shelter will undergo examination, treatment and rehabilitation, after which they will be offered for adoption.


“We want to give these stray cats and dogs a real home so after here, residents can adopt them and treat them as their own,” Mendoza said.


He said the three facilities are a pet project of Governor Francis Escudero aimed at looking after the welfare of abandoned animals while helping the community to eliminate bite incidents that involve stray dogs.


“With the new facility, we are confident that the rabies cases and other animal bite cases here will go down if not become zero. Also, accidents on the roads caused by dogs and cats will be eliminated,” he said.


Mendoza added that Escudero wants to train dogs that can help in the province’s anti-criminality drive.


“One of the long-term plans of Gov. Escudero is the possible training of dogs to be used in our anti-criminality enforcement like sniffing dogs,” he said.


Escudero, in a statement, thanked his team in the provincial government for completing the project.


Of course, I also thank my wife who is also currently the PAWS spokesperson of the country because of her undying support to this project and for agreeing to be one of its patrons,” he added.


The governor said it is public knowledge that he and his wife, celebrity Heart Evangelista, are happy owners of several “aspins” (asong Pinoy) and “puspins” (pusang Pinoy), that is why the Sorsogon project for animals is something close to their hearts.


“Hindi naman sa inyo kaila na bukod kay Panda na isang aspin ay marami kaming alagang mga aso at pusa sa bahay. Bahagi na sila ng aming pamilya. Kaya para sa katulad nating mga animal lovers, para po sa inyong mga alaga ang bagong shelter and diagnotics laboratory na ito,” Escudero said during the inauguration of the facilities recently.


We do not care only for humans. Animals also need love and proper care, he added.


In a video message during the event, Evangelista said she is delighted that finally, the province now has its animal shelter and diagnostic laboratory and clinic that will complement the services of the Office of the Provincial Veterinarian.


“Personally, this newly built provincial animal shelter was a dream come true. As an advocate and spokesperson for the PAWS, I have long wanted to see a shelter for abandoned, maltreated, and homeless animals of Sorsogon,” she said.


Provincial Veterinarian Dr. John Ashley M. de Castro thanked the Escudero couple for the speedy construction of the animal facilities, as he vowed that his office will be in forefront of educating and disseminating information on animal welfare, care, and control. (PNA)