Manila: A five-year-old boy in Basilan in southern Philippines died a day after being savagely attacked by stray dogs as officials took steps to address feral canine assaults on the local populace.
Reports reaching Manila said the boy was out walking on the streets of Aguada in Isabela City on Sunday evening when about ten stray dogs mauled him. The victim, a Muslim, was later taken to a hospital in Zamboanga City for treatment, but died on Tuesday morning due to his injuries.
The incident drew concern from local officials as it was not the first time that such attacks from feral dogs were recorded in Isabela City.
Mayor-elect Sitti Djalia “Dadah” Turabin-Hataman said the matter should be immediately addressed as there was an apparent proliferation of stray dogs in the city and increasing incidents of attacks.
200-250rabies-related human deaths are recorded in the Philippines annually
“The child’s death is the latest in a string of stray dog attacks in the city. It is truly alarming that more than 300 have been injured in stray dog attacks in the city. As mayor-elect, this incident calls for our attention to the issue. During our barangay (village) visits and consultations before the elections, some sectors have already raised the problems caused by stray dogs particularly on the littering of garbage,” she said.
In the Philippines, the matter concerning stray dogs is left for local government units to address. Some city and municipal organs conduct animal control activities to keep canines and felines in check, but most officials shrug aside the issue.
Under the provisions of the country’s laws governing animals and pets, local government units are mandated to apprehend and impound stray dogs.
Aside from mauling incidents, rabies also is another concern.
According to the Humane Society International (HSI) some 200-250 rabies-related human deaths are recorded in the Philippines annually with dog bites responsible for more than 95 per cent of the cases.
The concern over rabies was highlighted last April 2019, when Birgitte Kallestad, a Norwegian animal rights activist, died from infection a week after vacationing in the Philippines.
Kallestad contracted rabies after a puppy she had rescued bit and scratched her. Kallestad’s death from rabies, was the first in Norway after more than 200 years, according to the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.
To honour Kallestad and her work on providing welfare to animals, the HSI conducts anti-rabies vaccination activities.