Senator: Maximum 90 years in jail, P7.5 M fine for 30 dogs' death

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 12) — A canine club confirmed around 30 dogs died as they were transported inside a closed van on the way to a dog show.

Senator Francis Pangilinan, who worked on introducing changes to the Animal Welfare Act, said those responsible may be penalized by life imprisonment, and a hefty P7.5-million fine given the number of dog deaths.

On December 2, 40 dogs were transported by an exhibitor to the Beagle Fanciers Club Dog Show in Marikina in a closed van.

Upon reaching the venue, some dogs were dehydrated, unconscious, and dead due to heat stroke. The dogs were rushed to the nearest veterinarian. Some died the following day.

The Philippine Canine Club, Inc. (PCCI), in a statement on December 6, confirmed the incident.

The issue went viral when netizen Penny Cham posted Facebook photos and information sent to her by a PCCI member on December 9.

Cham said the PCCI member refused to be identified.

Pangilinan on Tuesday condemned the death of the dogs.

"It's time to stop treating animals as mere commodities. How we regard animals show our capacity for empathy and decency, kindness and humanity," he said.

Speaking to CNN Philippines on Tuesday, PCCI General Manager Jojo Rosales said the show obtained a permit from PCCI, as well as from the Bureau of Animal Industry.

Rosales said the club has suspended the exhibitor who supposedly owns the 40 dogs.

He added some of the dogs were whippets — lean and athletic dogs which descended from greyhounds.

The 40 dogs were of different breeds, he said.

The club has also ordered an investigation. Asked if they will file cases against the exhibitor, Rosales said this will depend on the results of the probe.

"Pinamadali ng board yan (The board asked for a speedy investigation). Hopefully, (there will be results) by next week," Rosales said.

Pangilinan, who chaired the Committee on Agriculture during the 15th Congress, invoked the Animal Welfare Act, which was amended in 2013 to be "more responsive in protecting and promoting animal welfare."

"The negligent person should not face mere suspension but penalties imposed by the law if proven guilty," Pangilinan said.

A person found guilty of "leaving an animal in circumstances likely to cause, or if this abandonment results in, its death" may face penalties ranging from six months in jail and/or P30,000 fine, up to three years jail time and/or P250,000 fine.

"If 30 dogs died in the incident as reported, that would be 30 counts, with maximum penalties of up to 90 years imprisonment and/or P7.5 million fine," Pangilinan added.

CNN Philippines is trying to reach the Beagle Fanciers Club for comment.