Legazpi CVO boosts program to combat surge for rabies cases 

Legazpi City — In response to the threat of rabies to public safety, the Legazpi City Veterinary Office (CVO), along with the local animal control agencies in Bicol and the Pacific Partnership, strengthened their program to eradicate rabies cases.

The project Community HArmony in the New GEneral (CHANGE), which was launched last year, is an approach to rabies elimination that aims to effectively reinforce the existing policies on pet vaccination and animal control in the community.

One of the components of the said program is the Legazpi Search and Rescue Dog Detection Organization (LESARDO), where they encourage the community to take care of their dogs because it brings many benefits to people.

Dr. Emmanuel Estipona, head of Legazpi CVO, said in an interview that they have conducted the program to stop the proliferation of rabies cases and stray dogs to meet their goal of achieving a safe and healthy environment.

He also noted that it is not easy to handle this situation due to the extensive number of dog populations in the city.

“We have a (total of) 30,000 dog population and 50 percent of it can go out of the premises of the dog owners at any given time so hindi madali. Hopefully, darating po tayo sa situation na ma-minimize na ang stray dog collection,” Estipona said. 

In a separate interview, Ruby Dizon-Jeremias, rabies coordinator of the Department of Health Bicol Center for Health Development (DOH-CHD), told BicoldotPH that the number of recorded death cases in the region last year due to rabies was 31, while two died during the first month of 2024.

She highlighted the need to strengthen advocacy related to pet care since rabies is a fatal disease and a threat to public safety.

“The advocacy for responsible pet care in the community, especially for dogs and cats, should be strengthened. They [pets] should be vaccinated at their municipal agriculture office since they are the ones in charge of animals, and if someone gets bitten, they should go to the nearest health center,” Jeremias said. 

She also reminded the local government to do their responsibility in reaching those residents, especially those from remote areas, to execute advocacies regarding responsible pet ownership. I Lyzha Mae Agnote

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