LEGAZPI CITY – This capital city of Albay province is now considered rabies-free after gaining a 95-percent vaccination rate of the total population of its registered dogs.
City Veterinary Office (CVO) chief Dr. Emmanuel Estipona, in an interview on Monday, said the city sustained its dog vaccination program from 2019 to 2023, with no single case of rabies infection.
Out of the 29,500 dogs registered in Legazpi, 28,025 were vaccinated under the all-year-round rabies eradication program last year, he noted.
Estipona said the Department of Health (DOH) requires a 95-percent vaccination rate of the dog population in a given area before it could be declared a rabies-immune community.
He said his office was able to achieve this target rate by implementing the projects “Barangay Responsible Owners of Dogs (BROD)” and “Barangay Responsible of Dogs Enforcement Team (BRODET)” as components of the city’s Community Harmony and the New General (CHANGE) approach program.
“Through the BROD project, the CVO has regularly conducted orientation seminars to all the pet owners of the 70 villages of Legazpi to provide them awareness of the proper way of taking care of their pets and also to train canines not to become stray dogs to prevent the spread of rabies infectious diseases in the community,” Estipona said.
Under the BRODET approach, he said members of the enforcement teams regularly coordinate with barangay officials on catching stray dogs roaming the streets to prevent dog bites and lessen motorcycle accidents.
“The members of the BRODET are authorized to issue citation tickets to the owners of stray dogs that are remiss of their duty to look after their pets as penalized in the city’s Responsible Pet Owner Ordinance,” he said.
Estipona said they will sign a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Department of Education (DepEd) to include in the curriculum the students' inputs on the Responsible Pet Owner practices of Legazpi for them to become aware of the dangerous effects of rabies to people. (PNA)