Dog fees suspended to sustain anti-rabies target

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Dog fees suspended to sustain anti-rabies target

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Dog fees have been suspended to hit Bohol’s anti-rabies target in shorter time and sustain the campaign for zero animal viral disease that otherwise risks both human lives and government finances.

The Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) declared a moratorium in the payment of registration fees for anti-rabies vaccination of dogs to accomplish above the standard 70% target dog herd immunity province-wide.

SP Floor Leader Cesar Tomas Lopez said owners have been “discouraged” from having their dogs vaccinated observably because of the fees, resulting in the unwanted less turnout of anti-rabies vaccination.

Dr. Stella Marie Lapiz, provincial veterinarian, validated this wide observation which has challenged more her dedicated anti-rabies frontline workers to achieve past the aim.

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With this information, Gov. Edgar Chatto had in fact already directed early March the Bohol Rabies Prevention and Elimination Council (BRPEC) to conduct a massive vaccination until May, this year.

The moratorium on fees is effective within the above period only, according to the SP resolution, introduced by Lopez as health committee chairman, as recommended by the BRPEC and endorsed by the governor.

Any resurgence of a single rabies case is more than challenging to reverse the low turnout of dog vaccination in the barangays and municipalities.

As in the province, Tagbilaran City under Mayor John Geesnell Yap II will have its dog vaccination and anti-rabies program not just sustained but “biting.”

In his letter to the SP, Chatto lamented over the sliding vaccination rate recently from 67.15% in 2011 an even slightly higher at 67.18% the following year.

Still, the governor acknowledged the effort of the BRPEC and the office of Lapiz in cooperation with the LGUs down the barangay level.

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Likewise, he cited the passionate works, which include rabies prevention and elimination, of the frontline Barangay Livestock Aides (BALA), also handled by the Office of the Provincial Veterinarian (OPV) thru BALA Provincial Coordinator Bob Galero.

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But efforts in this regard, how so initiated they are, have to be reinforced by a policy best suited to a condition and, thus, the moratorium to maximize participation and ensure public safety, according to the capitol.

Provincial Ordinance No. 2007-012, Section 6 (d) states, “For sustainability, a registration fee shall be collected which entitles the dog to an anti-rabies vaccination, tag and registration/certification card, observing the following rates:  Male dog – P100, female dog – P50, and male dog neutered – P50.”

This has been amended thru PO No. 2010-001 by adding this provision, “Dog owners shall pay the fees for the first two successive years of registration of every dog.  Thereafter, every dog shall be registered annually without payment of the corresponding fees.”

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One time, a kagawad of a barangay in a town had to spend from his honorarium for the registration-vaccination of the dogs in his place, a government source said.

Good for vaccinating 10 dogs, an anti-rabies vial could cost the government some P1,500, not to mention the subsidies the government also spends for the much expensive vaccines for human victims of dog bites.

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Dog vaccination in private pet clinics is more costly.

Lopez said the moratorium hoped to hit the target accomplishment is timely because of the available stocks of anti-rabies vaccines for dogs from the World Health Organization in support of the zero-rabies program. (Ven rebo Arigo)

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