BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance known as the sanitary pet waste disposal measure in the city.
The ordinance authored by Councilor Leandro B. Yangot, Jr. stated that pet refers to a domesticated animal kept for amusement or companionship while pet solid waste refers to a waste matter expelled from the bowels of the pet excrement.
The ordinance added that it shall be unlawful for any pet owner or keeper to permit such pet to be on any private property other than that of the owner and keeper of such pet without the expressed permission of the owner of the said property or any streets, sidewalks, highways, school grounds, parks or other public properties, without the pet owner or keeper of such animal to have in his or her possession, a suitable device for the picking up, collection and proper sanitary disposal of the animal feces.
Further, it shall be unlawful for the pet owner or keeper to permit or allow such pet to excrete feces on any private property other than that of the pet owner or keeper without the permission of the owner of the property or on any streets, sidewalks, highways, school grounds, parks or other property unless the pet owner or keeper of such animal immediately removes all feces deposited by such animal and disposes of the same in a sanitary manner.
However, any blind or visually impaired pet owner or keeper who is accompanied by a ‘seeing eye’ or other certified assistance pet shall be exempted from the provisions of the ordinance.
Under the provisions of the ordinance, violators of the measure shall be fined P500 for the first offense, P1,000 for the second offense and P2,000 and imprisonment of 30 days or both at the discretion of the court for the third and succeeding offenses.
The City Public Order and Safety Division shall coordinate with the City Veterinary Office and City Health Services Office for the strict implementation of the provisions of the ordinance.
Section 15, Article II of the 1987 Constitution provides that the State shall protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill health consciousness among them.
Yangot argued that rather than as a working animal or livestock, pets are animals kept primarily for a person or family’s company, protection or entertainment, the most popular of which comprise of cats or dogs, and in the scientific community, pets are widely believed to bring mental and physical health to their owners, however, keeping animals as pets may be detrimental to somebody’s health if certain parameters are not met.
He emphasized that one important issue is improper waste disposal, which may produce clinical effects, thus, when it rains, bacteria and pathogens in pet waste is washed directly into the storm drainage system, then into the waterways, untreated, thereby allowing fecal coliform bacteria that thrives in feces of warm-bloodied animals is considered a pollutant impacting on waterways.
Moreover, Yangot underscored that pet waste washed directly into the city’s storm drainage system, then into the waterways, untreated is considered a serious health concern for the local government.
By Dexter A. See