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Saving the dogs

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We love to say dogs are a man’s best friend, but along with the recent news about the planned euthanasia of 50 dogs in Vitas, Tondo, more of these favorite household companions are in danger of being killed or put to sleep in more parts of the country with so little help from their human “friends.”

The interventions of one group, however, have been making a change throughout Bacolod, Bulacan, Muntinlupa and now Manila — the PAWSsion Project.

This is a non-profit organization led by Malou Perez and has been behind many pound rescue operations across the country. To date, it has rescued over 300 dogs since it started on 10 October 2018.

“It all happened very spontaneously. I was just tagged on a Facebook post that there were these dogs that were about to be euthanized and they only had three days left for them to be rescued,” Perez relates.

The first-ever rescue operation in Bacolod led her to the creation of the PAWSsion Project. “… And because of what I knew [about] the reality of the strays and all of the impounded dogs, I just couldn’t stop anymore,” she said.

Perez doesn’t have any background on rescuing and has no plans of being a rescuer. She simply wants to help rescue dogs in the Bacolod pound. She also sometimes manages the organization alone.

She does social media, the rescuing and managing the shelter. But since 90 percent of the reports are coming from Manila, she had to extend her reach with a caretaker and a volunteer to be situated in the city.

“When you’re in that situation, when you know it’s going to happen again, and the same thing will happen to the dogs that will be impounded, and on the coming days, the coming weeks, the coming months, how can it stop? How can you just turn a blind eye?” she shared.

Since then, people have started to come up to her and ask for help in saving and rescuing dogs at risk of being euthanized.

Perez has a shelter in Bacolod which currently houses around 150 dogs. In Muntinlupa, they have 10 dogs remaining for re-homing. In Bulacan, they have around 106 dogs, and now they have intercepted the 50 dogs with the help of Manila Mayor Isko Moreno.

Malou Perez, the woman behind the PAWSsion Project.

Saving in Tondo

The 50 dogs supposed to be up for euthanasia were saved by Mayor Moreno, but behind this were the cries of PAWSsion Project and other animal welfare groups that wanted to help.

A reporter managed to seek the PAWSsion Project’s assistance to adopt a dog in Vitas, Tondo, but was refused. Along with the difficulties of adopting (which requires proof of income, barangay certificate, 1×1 picture, the adoption fee and adoption papers), they strictly implement the one dog per resident rule.

There are also reports that the pound refuses to let people adopt the dogs.

“One of the reporters even asked one of the vets (veterinarian), because she saw a dog with a TVT (Transmissible Venereal Tumors), with a tumor, and they asked the vet, I’m not sure, or someone from the pound, and they were even mocked. They were told (by the vet) ‘Why do you even want to rescue these dogs? Because these dogs have diseases already.’” Perez shared.

She recounted that one of the reporters was told by the veterinarian that they don’t encourage the adoption of dogs which led to Perez’s post on social media; Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to find a way to reach out to Mayor Isko.

It then led to the rescuing of the dogs in Tondo.

“But come to think of it, if we didn’t make noise, or if we didn’t try to reach Mayor Isko, then the dogs would have already been euthanized,” the dog-lover-turned-rescuer said.

Plans of action

Malou Perez with the PAWSsion Project aims to take action against the pound and irresponsible owners who are the main reason for stray and impounded dogs.

She is also trying to get in touch with the Manila mayor and to discuss taking further actions regarding the city pounds.

In Bulacan, she is going to be meeting with the mayor and, if possible, come up with a memorandum of agreement for their rescue projects to continue with local government support.

“A major action really is to try to eliminate the killing of dogs. That’s the only way to solve the problem. You do something about the overpopulation problem. Because even if you save dogs every week, and there are still 10 million strays left on the streets unsterilized, they will continue to populate. So, it’s never going to end,” Perez said.

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