Pet Overpopulation in the Philippines

Pet ownership in the Philippines has drastically changed for the past years. In fact from 2007-2012 Philippines placed second as the fastest increase in population of cats and dogs. The reason for the increase is remittance from migrant workers have boosted disposable income and pet spending.

Pet overpopulation is the number one cause of animal cruelty. The pet owners inconvenience of having too much cats and dogs results to cruel dumping, releasing their pet in the streets and sidewalks. These dumped house pets are most likely to get run over or targeted by cruel individuals.

Republic Act No. 8485, an act to promote animal welfare in the Philippines, otherwise known as “The Animal Welfare Act Of 1998”. Under section 6 it clearly states that it is unlawful for any person to torture any animal, to neglect to provide adequate care, sustenance or shelter, or maltreat any animals or to subject any dog or horse to dogfights or horse fights, 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.

There have been many programs and policies developed to improve the standards of care and wellbeing of animals. However, pet overpopulation remains a public concern, due to reports of substandard care and treatment of animals in large scale and institutional settings leaving government officials creating numerous layers of regulations and requiring multiple agencies to perform inspections of the same entity.

The reason behind this is owner’s lack of knowledge in responsible pet ownership which includes awareness in spay-neuter surgeries that prevent pet pregnancies which is a great idea to control overpopulation of pets or even stray animals.

Many fail to realize that a fertile dog can produce an average of two litters in one year. With the average of 6-10 puppies in a canine litter, up to 508 puppies can be born from one un-spayed female dog and her offspring in seven years.

Meanwhile a fertile cat can produce an average of three litters in one year. If the average number of kittens in a feline litter is four to six, there can be up to 4,948 kittens born from one un-spayed female cat and offspring in seven years.

Females become pregnant during their estrus or "heat" periods. These cycles usually occur twice a year in dogs, and at least two or three times a year in cats.

Many cats "come into heat" as often as once every two-to-three weeks, especially in warm climates. The warm weather coincides with female cats' heat cycles, causing kitten "season" starting in spring, peaking in late spring or early summer, and ending in fall.

Intact (unneutered) male dogs represent 80% of the dogs presented to veterinary behaviorists for cases of dominance aggression. Intact males are involved in 75% of reported dog bite incidents.

Spay/neuter is the only permanent, 100-percent effective method of birth control for dogs and cats, since sterilizing a cat/dog reduces their urge to roam and decreases the risk of contracting diseases or getting hurt as they roam.

There should be a change of mindset from pet owners to pursue animal welfare that only pets would benefit from it. Animal welfare also leads to the welfare and safety of the owners and the community, since healthy and well trained animals are less likely to cause troubles like biting and roaming around the streets.