Talisay stops gassing stray dogs

Posted on November 21, 2012

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Guillamar Roque of CSDC explains how the gas chamber used to kill stray dogs through ‘tambutso gassing’ at the Talisay City Dog Pound works. (CONTRIBUED BY JOVENIANO YAP OF TV5 CEBU)

Caving in to protests from animal welfare activists, the Talisay City Veterinary Office has decided to stop the practice of killing stray dogs through the so-called “tambutso (tailpipe) gassing”.

The Cebu South Dogs Club Inc. (CSDC) wanted the practice stopped immediately, describing it as “cruel” and “pitiless”.

“Tambutso gassing” is a method of trapping dogs inside an enclosed metal cage. A hose connected to the tailpipe of a gas-powered engine is then attached to the cage. The dogs get killed by the carbon monoxide emitted by the idling engine.

“It takes 10 to 15 minutes. It’s so inhumane that you hear the dogs crying their hearts out in the tambutso chamber,” Guillam Roque, CSDC president, said.

According to the CSDC, ‘tambutso gassing’ is not among the prescribed methods of euthanasia or mercy killing in accordance with Republic Act 8485 or the Animal Welfare Act of the Philippines.

Roque said they learned about the practice being done in Talisay City after a certain Gerald Cabinatan submitted photos of the practice to a television station.

Dr. Santiago Hortel, city veterinarian, admitted that they practiced ‘tambutso gassing’ because they thought this was allowed by an administrative order issued by the Department of Agriculture.

Under Order 13 issued in May 18, 2010, listed down the approved methods of euthanasia which included the use of carbon monoxide from a car exhaust.

Animal welfare groups however, went up in protest against the method and their tedious lobby resulted in the removal of tailpipe gassing from the approved list.

Hortel admitted he misunderstood the DA order. He said he will still have to sit down with his fellow local government veterinarians to discuss the issue.

“The order is confusing,” he said. “We will stop this practice immediately. We will review the practice, but for now, we will really stop.”

CSDC’s Roque said the there is nothing confusing in the DA order. He said the order still lists carbon monoxide poisoning as an acceptable method, but the order specifies that the chemical has to be commercially produced and not produced by engine emission,

“These (commercially produced carbon monoxide) are usually contained in cylinders and are very expensive,” Roque said.

Despite statements that the City Veterinary Office will stop the practice, a television news crew discovered there were five dogs in the “gas chamber” when they visited the dog pound yesterday morning.

Hortel said the dogs will be euthanized through potassium injection.

CSDC’s Roque said they will be counting on Hortel’s promise and warned him that they will constantly monitor the situation.

“We hope they will stay true to their word. We will be watching them closely, as well as other LGU’s in Cebu,” said Roque.

He also encouraged those who know of the practice of ‘tambutso gassing’ in their localities to report the incident immediately to animal welfare groups. /Patricia Andrea D. Pateña, Correspondent

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