To curb rabies and ensure responsible pet ownership, the city council has considered a proposed ordinance to limit the numbers of dogs to two per household.
However, Councilor Mary Joselle Villafuerte clarified it was merely a topic raised during one of the committee hearings.
Dr. Gay Pallar, rabies coordinator of the City Veterinarian’s Office (CVO), said the city could adopt the same policy of Singapore to promote responsible dog ownership.
Last year, the office focused on conducting house-to-house vaccination and impounding of dogs in Barangay Catalunan Grande, Talomo District, which registered the highest rabies cases in the city with 27 in total.
Other areas with a high number of rabies cases were Tugbok District (8), Toril (6), Buhangin (5), and Bunawan (5).
The CVO is also asking for assistance from the Davao Quarantine Station of the Bureau of Quarantine to regulate the migration of dogs to the city to prevent the spread of rabies.
“As of this time, we try hard in ensuring shipping permits with vaccination cards to every dog owners who enter Davao,” Pallar said.
The CVO expressed pessimism toward achieving the national goal to be rabies-free by 2020 but they are still hopeful to totally eliminate rabies cases before 2030 as the public is now more aware of the disease compared to previous years.
Last week, a researcher from the University of the Philippines Mindanao said that wiping out rabies cases in the city remains a challenge due to the unregulated “migration” of dogs to the city.
The Commission on Higher Education (CHED), in collaboration with UP Mindanao, DMSF, CVO and CHO, is currently developing a study entitled STOP Rabies: Synoptic Study on Transmission and Optimum Control to Prevent Rabies.
This is a response to the “Zero by 30” goal of the World Health Organization (WHO) that aims for a “zero human dog-mediated rabies death by 2030 worldwide.”
The Philippines has a 10-year advanced goal that aims to achieve zero rabies case by 2020.
“We want to study first in Davao City if it’s possible to wipe out rabies cases because if it’s possible to wipe out rabies cases here in the city then it’s possible to wipe out all rabies cases in the Philippines,” Zython Paul Lachica, assistant researcher from UP Mindanao, said on Friday.
According to Lachica, Bohol is already rabies free. It is said to be an advantage for the province because it is an island.
“It is a challenge in Davao City because we are connected to other municipalities, at least tourists are well-regulated but it’s not like that for animals,” Lachica said.
In 2017, the city recorded 21 cases of rabies, an increasing for the 2016 figure of 15 and 2015 figure of 12. No figure was released yet for 2018.
Lachica also assured that rabies is not yet epidemic in the city, making it positive to eliminate rabies before 2030.
In the data stated by Lachica, there were already at least 20,000 vaccinated dogs in the city.
However, they are unable to monitor the remaining unvaccinated dogs because of the difficulty to document the exact proportion of the total dog population.
(An earlier version of this story mistakenly reported that the draft already exists; the draft doesn’t exist.)