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Limiting Stray Dogs

Page history last edited by PBworks 15 years, 3 months ago
Stray Dogs: A nuisance or a benefit?


Description and Rationale


Wherever you go in the Philippines, province or city, market or subdivision, you will find

stray dogs. These dogs are generally flea bitten, malnourished, mangy, and miserable. Some

of them, especially in the province, have owners; however, these owners often have hardly

enough money to provide food and medicine for their family, let alone their dogs. Because

of this, these dogs are forced to go out and scavenge for food, generally near trash cans

or in the palengke. For the people who do have enough food, often their dog will produce

unwanted puppies, which they just abandon, creating many more stray dogs.

What is the impact of these dogs on the people of the Philippines? Besides being an eyesore

to anyone who looks at them, they can transmit their diseases and fleas (and the diseases

carried by these fleas) to humans. Strays living in the palanke often make pests of

themselves by stealing meat and food from the stall owners. There are even instances when

communities of dogs become rabid, making it dangerous to walk the streets in the surrounding

area. They also create sound pollution in subdivisions, disturbing the rest of the community.

Is there a way to solve this problem while at the same time benefiting the people? Many

people just consider these dogs pests and would like to simply have them exterminated. But

as long as owners allow their animals to continue to have unwanted offspring, the problem

will remain. There are two kinds of solutions to this problem. One is to launch a campaign

to kill all the strays and prevent dogs from having excessive puppies. The other is to find

a way to use these puppies to benefit the owners and the communities. In the mountains the

stray population is kept in check by the use of these animals as food. Since the owners

barely have enough food to feed themselves, some have made it a practice to get a female

dog and do their best to keep her healthy. When she has puppies they are then raised until

they are old enough to be eaten. Some even use a nursing dog to provide milk for their

families. Another way for these animals to be utilized is to train some of them as service

dogs, working for the police, blind, or handicapped, and sell the friendlier ones that are

not able to be trained in this way as pets to other families who want the animals.

The primary purpose of this project will be to research and fully understand the stray dog

problem along with the local laws affecting it. Then discover some possible solutions for

this problem. The research will mainly be done through internet articles and possibly some

interviews with animal control workers. After this the likelihood of some of the proposed

solutions to this problem will be explored.

It is hoped that through this project a solution to the stray dog problem may be

found that would both eliminate the problem and benefit the community, and not just simply

get rid of the dogs. 


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Common Names and Synonyms

Canis familiaris is more commonly known as the dog or hound in English, aso in Tagalog,

hond in Dutch, chien in French, and perro in Spanish. It also is referred to as Canis or Canis domesticus.





 Kingdom: Animalia (Animal)

Phylum: Chordata  (Chordates)

Subphylum: Vertebrato (Vertebrates)

Class: Mammalia (Mammal)

Order: Carnivora (Carnivore)

Family: Canidae

Genus: Canis

Species: Canis lupus (grey wolf)

Subspecies: Canis lupus familiaris (Domesticated Dog)

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Morphology and Physical Description

Dogs can weigh from less than 1 kg to over 79 kg and their head to body length is 306 –

1,450 mm. Their shoulder height is anywhere from 150-840 mm and their tail length   130 -

510 mm. Their body shapes are highly varied due to their history of extensive breading to

produce many different types of dogs. They are muscular and deep-chested. All of them have

fur, varying from short to long, covering the majority of their body. Most have a tail,

which also can be short and stubby or long and slender, that they can wag. They have

protruding muzzles with large ears that can be either floppy or erect. They walk on four

slender limbs. The front limbs have five-clawed digits and the back limbs have four-clawed



Dogs are partially colour blind, particularly with the colour red. Dogs with long noses

tend to have much better vision. Sight hounds and other hunting dogs have vision as good

as 270o (that is, they can see things that are at a 270o angle from the front of them),

while broad nosed dogs have sight as low as 180o, similarly to humans.


Dogs’ hearing is good, and they can hear between 16 Hz to 45kHz (compared to humans hear

in between 20Hz to 10kHz). Additionally, they are able to move their ears, with the help

of 18 muscles located in their ears, in order to determine the exact location of a sound.

Dogs with shorter, more erect ears generally have better hearing than of those with longer,

floppier ears.


The sense of smell in dogs is also very keen, having almost 220 million smell-sensitive

cells in their noses. Although dogs are very good at smelling, doing it for an extended

period of time is very tiring for them.


Dogs have 279-282 bones in their bodies. Their basic bone structure is very similar from

breed to breed, however the size and shape of the bones vary greatly. The four parts of a

dog skeleton is the spinal column, thorax, head, and extremities. The spinal column’s main

functions are to protect the nerves in it and to support the dog’s torso. The head is made

up of the skull, jaw bone, and teeth. Dogs have 2 sets of teeth, 32 baby teeth and 42 adult

teeth. Puppies usually loose their baby teeth around the age of three weeks. The thorax is

a series of 13 rib bones and cartilage attached to the spinal column, forming the rib cage.

A dog’s extremities include its tail and leg bones.



Getting Food

Dogs have a natural ability to hunt and scavenge, though many don’t because of their

domestication. However, many domesticated dogs still hunt and kill rodents and birds a

nd eat road kill and garbage.


Although dogs are classified as carnivores, they often eat vegetables and grains. Many

wild dogs obtain certain vitamins by eating partially digested grasses in the stomachs

of their prey. Dogs can survive on a vegetarian diet if it is carefully balanced with lots

of nuts and grains. However, it is believed that dogs on high protein diets (being that 40%

of their daily intake is protein) are less likely to suffer from muscle and tissue damage.


Dogs often eat grass, and there are many different theories on the reason of this. One is

that the grass neutralizes stomach acids, and another is that it causes them to vomit and

get rid of unwanted objects, such as hair or bones. 


Though dogs can eat most foods as humans can, a few human foods are toxic to dogs, such as:

chocolate (only chocolate with cocoa, so not white chocolate), Tylenol, alcoholic beverages,

onions, grapes, raisins, some sweeteners, some gum, and macadamia nuts.


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Dogs reproduce in the same way that most mammals do, by the union of a male and a female. A

dog is sexually mature at about 6 months to one year of age. A domesticated female dog goes

into heat every six months. The female dog’s gestation is about 63 days and usually gives

birth to 3-10 young, or ‘puppies’. A litter of puppies may be fathered by several different

dogs. Once the puppies are born, the mother takes care of them, nursing them for about six



Environmental Factors

Most domesticated dogs’ environmental factors are controlled by the lifestyle of their owners.

Some breeds, such as huskies, are well equipped for cold weather, however most breeds can

survive in any climate.


Stray dogs’ environmental factors are much less controlled. Since food and water are not

provided for them by their master, they need access to an area where they can get their own.

Because of this, many strays live near garbage dumps or markets where they can scavenge food,

and obtain water from sewers and rivers. The amount of garbage and the kind greatly effects

the dogs health, as well as the quantity and the sanitation of water.


There are many disease organisms that use dogs as hosts. Many, especially strays, have fur

infested with fleas, ticks, and mites. They also carry internal parasites such as hookworm,

tapeworm, heartworm, and round worm.


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Origin and Distribution

They are believed to be a domesticated version of the gray wolf, Canis lupus, because of their

similar DNA. It is debated on the time and place that the dog was domesticated. Some say it was

12,000 to 14,000 years ago in the Middle East, while other say that it occurred 15,000 to

100,000 thousand years ago in China or another part of Asia. Still others say that dogs may have

been domesticated at several different times.


However, it is generally agreed on that once the dog was domesticated somewhere on the continent

of Asia it stayed with people as the migrated to Europe, Africa, North America (by the Native

Americans), and Australia (by the Aborigines).


Importance to People

ogs are the primary vectors in transmitting rabies to humans, as well as mange and other viral,

bacterial, and parasitical diseases. They also transfer fleas, mites, ticks, and lice to humans,

along with all the diseases that these insects may have. Some unfriendly or mistreated dogs

attack humans and, if they want to, can kill. Stray dogs often drag garbage out of the dumps,

spill trash cans, and carry around the carcasses of dead animals, creating a general condition

of unsanitary. They also can make pests out of themselves by trying to steal food and barking

at all hours.


However, when dogs are properly used by humans, these negative factors can be altogether and

many positive benefits utilized. They are commonly used as guards for homes and livestock,

livestock headers, and just pets. They are also used for hunting, herding, guide dogs for deaf,

blind, and disabled, and as police/military dogs. Police dogs are often used to search for

missing/lost persons and catching criminals, as well as sniffing out bombs or drugs. Some

exterminator businesses also use dogs to find bugs in the walls and floors of houses. In some

areas they are also used for meat or even milked.


Survivability and Endangered Status

Dogs’ ability to adapt to basically any climate and eat a wide variety of food have greatly

enabled their existence, and their domesticated status ensures that they will continue to

survive. Today in many developed countries there are laws in place to protect them from abuse

or mistreatment, and also to keep them off the streets and prevent them from being pests. However,

in underdeveloped countries, such as the Philippines, they are reproducing rapidly with little or

no control. When a dog has unwanted puppies they are generally just turned loose, creating a large

stray population. Virtually every city, town, and barrio throughout the Philippines has a

ubstantial population of both owned dogs and strays.



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Potential Solutions


Stray dogs are undoubtedly a large problem in the Philippines. They carry diseases and parasites

that can be spread to humans. They scavenge for food, stealing it from humans (this is especially

a problem in palenkes) or dumping out their garbage. They bark at night, occasionally attack

humans, and are just a general eyesore. Also, the population of stray dogs is ever increasing as

they reproduce rapidly and humans abandon more and more. Is there away to continuously use these

animals usefully while limiting the population drastically? Below are three possible solutions

with advantages and disadvantages for each.


Possibility 1


Stray dogs could be rounded up from the streets, raised on farms, humanely killed, and their meat

sold. These farms can be advertised as a place to bring unwanted dogs, thus keeping people from

leaving them on the streets. Dogs are already used here in the Philippines as a meat. In many other

countries in Asia, such as Korea, dog farms are common and dog meat can be easily found in the market.


• The resource is already abundant, and the Philippine people are already familiar with the

 techniques of raising, killing, and cooking dogs, so they would not need to be trained. Dogs

 reproduce rapidly, are easy to raise and feed, so if the dog farmer is smart, the money earned

 has the potential to far outweigh the money needed to raise them. Therefore, dog farmers would

 be able to support themselves, contribute the economy, and reduce the amounts of stray dogs.

• Philippinos and other Asians commonly eat dog meat, so it wouldn’t be thought as weird by them.

• It is legal in the Philippines, despite what opposition says, to kill dogs. Though the

 Philippine Animal Welfare Act does not state directly that dogs may be used for meat, it does

 state that it is lawful to humanely kill animals for animal control purposes. Therefore,

 slaughtering dogs in order to keep the stray dog population in check, and then utilizing the

 dogs as meat, is inside the law.

• Though Westerners consider killing dogs taboo, logically speaking, it isn’t any different than

 killing a cow or a pig. They’re animals – without souls, and God has given us authority to use

 them. Not to would be a wasteful and poor stewardship of his creation.



• Many of the stray dogs are malnourished, diseased, and have parasites, so they would not be fit

 for eating. It is said that only very drunk people would dare to eat a stray dog. (However, their

 offspring may be healthy if raised right, and if the dogs were given to the farms instead of

 being abandoned, they would be healthy also.)

• Many people, mainly westerners, look down on killing dogs as brutal; the Philippines would most

 likely endure a lot of opposition if this became a large source of income.

• Dog slaughter may be done inhumanely, and the animals may be greatly abused.


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Possibility 2


The stray dogs could be humanely killed, ground up, and used as fertilizer. This has been done before, on

June 4, 2003 in Zamboanga City, Mindanao. One thousand stray dogs were made into fertilizer by the city

government. They then asked a vet to incinerate them, however, the vet refused saying that this would

severely pollute the air, and proposing this instead.


• The Zoamboanga city government earned from 10,000 to 14,000 pesos a month from the sales of the

 fertilizer. That was just out of 1,000 dogs. The slaughter of all the dogs would create much more money.

• This can replace chemical fertilizers used by farmers as a much more environmentally friendly option.

 Decomposing animals are high in nitrates that plants need and would add many nutrients to the not very

 rich tropical soil found in the Philippines.

• Those who say that it is immoral to use dogs in such away need to remember that ground up animals have

 been used even in developed countries to fertilize the soil. Even the American pilgrims ground up fish

 to fertilize the soil. Why are dogs any different?


• The worms and disease from the dogs could spread to animals and infect them.

• The animals may not be killed humanely.

• The fertilizer may smell very bad (though other organic fertilizers such as manure also smell very bad).

Below is a petition that I have sent to the Philippine Vice president, suggesting that he look into this solution.

I am now waiting for an answer.

Dear Mr. Vice President,

I greatly appreciate your efforts to ensure that animals are treated humanely (The Animal Welfare Act, 1998). As

humans and as stewards as this world we need to do our best to treat animals kindly and without unnecessary harshness.

I am aware there is much opposition to your allowance for dogs to be used as meat, but I am not in agreement with this

opposition. Dishes served with dog meat, such as dog adobo, are ethnic foods of the Philippines, and disallowing them

would take away from the Philippine culture and waste the valuable resource of dogs.

However, I am appalled by the ways that dogs are treated here in the Philippines. Many of the ways that these dogs are

slaughtered are inhumane and unfit for a civilized, developing country. The Animal Wellfare Act states: It shall be

unlawful for any person to torture any animal, to neglect to provide adequate care, sustenance or shelter, or maltreat

any animal or to subject any dog or horse to dogfights or horsefights, kill or cause or procure to be tortured or

deprived of adequate care, sustenance or shelter, or maltreat or use the same in research or experiments not expressly

authorized by the Committee on Animal Welfare."

Stray dogs are a large problem here in the Philippines. They carry diseases and parasites that can be spread to humans.

They scavenge for food, stealing it from humans (this is especially a problem in palenkes) or dumping out their garbage.

They bark at night, occasionally attack humans, and are just a general eyesore. Also, the population of stray dogs is

ever increasing as they reproduce rapidly and humans abandon more and more.


I am aware that many animal rights activists claim that killing dogs for food is against this act. However, I noticed

that in section 6, exception 5 the Animal Welfare Act states that it is lawful to humanely kill animals for the

purposes of animal control. However, it would be wasteful to simply slaughter the dogs for animal control and not use

their meat. In my research I found that in Zamboanga stray dogs were slaughtered and then used for fertilizers. I propose

that you try something similar here in Manila.

If the dogs were humanely killed it would be complying to the standards set in the Animal Welfare act. In Zamoboanga the

city government earn between 10,000 and 14,000 pesos per month from this. The fertilizer made from the dogs is all natural,

high in nitrates, and non-chemical, making it incredibly good for the environment. In carrying this out, Manila would be

rid of a pesky nuisance, the environment would be saved from chemical pollutants, and money would be made.

Please consider what I have said,

Heather Douglas


Reachel Hagberg

Johanna McQuay

Grace Olsen

Lydia Rusch

Tashia Hardeman

Rachel Chesnut

Nona Caballero

Sheren Wildermoth

Dorothy Law

Hannah Schutt

Hannah Proctor

Amy Mulloy

Kristy Douglas

Stephanie O’Brien

Eleanor Baxter

Callie McKinney

Trevor Douglas

Norma Douglas

Matt West

Dale Leathead

Janette Leathead

Hudson Delmedico

Bethany Albright


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Possibility 3

ervice Dogs

The Philippines could develop programs to train service dogs and alert the public to them. Dog owners with unwanted dogs

could then donate or sell them to one of these training centers. These dogs then would be used to help the disabled such

as the blind, deaf, paralytics, police, and the army.


• Service dogs sell for a lot of money, so if the Philippines could export service dogs to Asia, it would greatly

 boost their economy. The training of the dogs would also provide more jobs.

• There are no or few training programs for service dogs in Asia. Service dogs would fill that need.


• Only a select few dogs can be trained to be fully reliable and dependable service dogs. Also, most Philippinos

 do not know how to train the dogs, so they would have to go oversees to learn.

• They are expensive to buy, and the target to sell the dogs to is relatively small.


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Cabellero, Nona. Personal interview. 2 May 2007. 

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      Zoology. 1 May 2007


"Dog." Wikipedia. 30 Apr. 2007. 1 May 2007 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dog>.

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Harris, Witney R. "What is a Scientific Name?" World Ecology Center. University of

      Missouri. 1 May 2007 <http://www.foodreference.com/html/artdogmeat.html>.

"Internal Dog Morphology." See Fido. 1 May 2007


James, Chef. "Dog Meat: Cultural Bias & Food Choice." Foodreference. 1 May 2007


"Morphology of a Dog." Visual Dictionary. Wikipedia. 1 May 2007


"The Philippines Animal Welfare Act." It's Their Destiny. 1 May 2007




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