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Feature: In Year of the Dog Filipinos being urged to adopt one
Last Updated: 2018-02-12 00:28 | Xinhua
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To welcome the upcoming Chinese Lunar New Year of the Dog, the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) on Sunday urged Filipinos to adopt a dog.

On Monday, members of PETA will take to the streets of Manila's Chinatown Binondo brandishing signs that read, "Happy Year of the Dog. Adopt, Don't Shop." Binondo is the world's oldest Chinatown.

Jana Sevilla of PETA told Xinhua that Monday's event is to encourage tourists and shoppers to adopt dogs from the local shelter or rescue groups instead of buying purebreds from pet stores or breeders, "which simply serves to exacerbate the homeless- animal crisis."

She said animal homelessness is becoming a serious problem in the Philippines. "The campaign is to help end the problem of animal homelessness," Sevilla said.

"City pounds and shelters are bursting at the seams with special dogs just waiting for their new families to find them and take them home," PETA Vice President Jason Baker said in a statement.

Indeed, Sevilla said "askals, or asong Pinoys (street dogs), are healthier than their purebred counterparts and have wonderfully loyal and loving spirits, which is why PETA encourages everyone who's ready to provide a dog with a lifetime of love and care, to celebrate the Year of the Dog by adopting a one-of-a kind mixed-breed friend."

On the street, Sevilla said homeless animals face starvation, extreme weather, disease, traffic, and cruel people.

"That's why PETA recommends that anyone who has the time and resources to provide an animal with a good home should adopt one from a shelter or rescue group and always have their animals sterilized," she said.

There is no available statistics on how many dogs or cats are roaming the streets, but Sevilla said, "There are just too many."

"If you go just outside your house for sure you'll find a homeless cat, or a homeless dog. In more depressed areas in the Philippines, there are so many homeless dogs and also cats," she said.

Sevilla said the street is not the safest place for the animals. "We always get reports of cruelty, a lot of dogs and cats die from starvation or they get run over by vehicles and die a slow and painful death," she said, adding when they get sick they can't get the necessary treatment because they are homeless.

Since the animals don't have any guardians who will care for them, she said these animals "can multiply really, really fast."

"That's why the population of homeless animals keeps on increasing by leaps and bounds," Sevilla said.

Sevilla said adopting dogs and cats is becoming popular in the Philippines. In fact, she said there are now different rescue groups in the country.

"Some of the rescue groups are even formed through social media, and then a lot of them find homes for these rescued animals," Sevilla said.

Sevilla said PETA is hoping that more dogs will get adopted in 2018, as it is the Year of the Dog in the Chinese zodiac calendar.

The Philippines is one of the many countries in Asia that uses the Chinese zodiac system, which rotates through 12 animal signs for each different year.

Sevilla urged Filipinos to adopt "askals, or asong Pinoys" or stray dogs that have made the streets their home.

"What we want people to realize is that all dogs are capable of loving, of being loyal and of providing very good companionship and we don't need to keep on breeding purebred dogs because it's not helping with the problem of animal homelessness."

Cristina Blacer, a resident of a gated exclusive subdivision in Quezon City, hailed the PETA campaign.

In her street, she said five stray, homeless dogs roam freely night and day. "There used to be two and they gave birth to three others. Now, there are five. I wish I could adopt them all," Blacer, who already owns two dogs, told Xinhua.

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