We're pleased to report that two dog meat traders have been successfully prosecuted with fines and prison sentences for violations of anti-rabies legislation as a result of their role in the illegal dog meat trade in the Philippines.
On October 3 in Baguio City our representative in the Philippines, Mel Alipio, attended the sentencing of two dog meat traders, Victorino P. Montano and Ricardo de Luna, who had been apprehended while traveling with dogs intended for use in the dog meat trade. The two men were stopped by police at a checkpoint in Baguio City in June 2011. Amongst the carnage in the van, the arresting officers discovered blood-stained sacks containing the heads of 25 dogs destined for restaurants in the city.
The judge sentenced the accused for violating R.A. 9482, legislation dealing with controlling the spread of rabies in the Philippines but also encompassing anti-dog meat controls. The two were fined the equivalent of three thousand US Dollars each and face imprisonment of 1-2 years.
In 2008 the "National Anti-Rabies Bill of 2007" took effect in the Philippines. As a result of extensive lobbying from animal welfare groups this legislation included amendments which had the power to dramatically increase penalties associated with dog meat trading. A clause in the new law states that any person found guilty can be fined a minimum of 5,000 pesos (approximately £50) per dog implicated, and imprisoned for a minimum of one year. The conviction of Montano and de Luna marks the second imprisonment of dog meat traders in the Philippines this year, showing that the authorities are committed to using the full force of their new legislation.
Following the verdict, Mel told local media, “This is a great victory for animal rights groups...For years, we have been fighting for stricter laws banning the trade of dog meat and now after the law has been enacted, we can now see prosecutions handed down by the courts.”