Understanding Animal Abandonment Laws in the Philippines
Updated: 2 days ago
A dog in my village was left behind by its owners who migrated abroad. I was informed that the relatives of the owners were instructed to care for the house and the dog every Wednesday, but that the visits happen very seldom.
I have reported this situation to the Home Owners Association (“HOA”), and have asked them what plans they have given the situation. However, no action has been taken by the HOA.
Can I compel the HOA to escalate a case of animal neglect/abandonment, and what legal actions may be thrown against me as a result of the actions I took to save the dog?
Lawyers Online PH answers:
Animal abandonment is a serious offense in the Philippines, as stated in Section 7 of Republic Act No. 10631. If you come across a case of animal neglect or abandonment, it's essential to know your rights and the legal actions you can take to address the situation effectively.
Addressing the Issue with the Home Owners Association (HOA)
In your case, where a dog has been left behind by its owners who migrated abroad, you have already reported the situation to the HOA. However, if the HOA fails to take action, compelling them to escalate the case of animal neglect or abandonment may be challenging. Currently, there is no specific law or jurisprudence that supports forcing a private juridical entity like the HOA to take legal action against the owners.
Taking Legal Recourse as an Individual
While compelling the HOA may not be feasible, there are steps you can take as an individual to address the issue:
File a complaint with the barangay: Your first recourse is to file a complaint with the barangay. If the barangay refuses to take action, administrative charges may be filed against them.
Directly file a case: You have the option to file a case directly before the City Prosecutor's Office. To do this, you need to prepare a Complaint Affidavit detailing the situation and providing supporting evidence.
Seek assistance from animal welfare organizations: You can also seek the help of The Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) in reporting the case to the barangay or initiating legal action. While PAWS can be the main complainant, it is crucial to have a witness affidavit and supporting evidence to strengthen the case and establish probable cause.
Possible Consequences for Filing Charges
It's important to ensure the veracity of your claims when filing charges against the owners of the abandoned dog. False or malicious claims meant to harass can lead to legal consequences. To protect yourself, gather substantial evidence, such as photos, documentation, and witness testimonies that support your case.
Although you cannot compel the HOA to take legal action against the owners of the abandoned dog, you can take personal steps to address the situation. File a complaint with the barangay, directly file a case, or seek the assistance of organizations like PAWS. Remember to gather evidence to substantiate your claims and protect yourself from potential legal repercussions.
At Lawyers Online PH, we understand the importance of animal welfare and can provide expert advice and guidance on the legal actions you can take. Contact our team of lawyers to ensure that your rights as an advocate against animal abandonment are protected and upheld. Together, we can make a difference in promoting animal welfare and combating animal cruelty in the Philippines.