Pets who bite can send owners to jail

Posted on August 20, 2012

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THE Philippine cobra that bit a zookeeper is free from any criminal or civil liability.

But its owner, if any, is not.

Cebu Provincial Prosecutor Pepita Jane Petralba, said owners of pets or any wild animals should be responsible for them.

“He or she is supposed to take care of what is under his control so other people won’t get hurt,” Petralba told Cebu Daily News.

Under the law, Petralba, said the owner gets charged in case his or her animal bites another person.

“If we own pets (or any wild animals), we should be responsible. You have a responsibility not just to your pet but also to public,” she said.

Petralba said the owner whose animal bites another person can be sued for damages and negligence.
If found guilty on the criminal offense, Petralba said the pet owner can be imprisoned for not more than six years.

“We have the right to enjoy life. We have the right to raise pets so we will be happy. But we have a corresponding obligation since others also have the right to be safe,” Petralba said.

She said anyone is prohibited from possessing a wild animal like cobras unless he or she has the authorization of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources as provided under Republic Act 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act. /Ador Vincent Mayol, Reporter

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