Two men have been arrested after more than 77 dead dogs — destined for the illegal dog meat trade — were seized in Batangas.
The suspects, Emerson Balingaloan, aged 36, and Glen Bajacang, 30, admitted the carcasses — weighing 770 kilos — were on their way a restaurant in their home city Baguio.
Police made the arrests in Padre Garcia following a tip-off from the Animal Kingdom Foundation (AKF).
The animal welfare organisation had previously been monitoring the dog meat trade in the town.
According to the AKF, the source of the meat seized yesterday (Thursday, January 4) had been difficult to pin down as it had no permanent slaughterhouse.
Balingaloan claimed it was his first time transporting dog meat, and he only got involved due to the offer of a daily wage.
The suspects said they were met by a man on a motorcycle who told them where to pick up the dog meat.
After loading the carcasses on their black Ford Ranger van, they handed over 20,000 pesos. It is believed that the going rate for dog meat in Baguio is 150 pesos per kilo. At this price they stood to make about 80,000 pesos profit.
Dr Rolando Marquez of the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) said that because dogs and cats are considered “companion animals”, their flesh offered for human consumption is classed as “hot meat”, and so illegal.
The carcasses are due to be buried and the suspects are now in police detention.
Superintendent Renfredo Dacalos said appropriate charges were being prepared against the two men. As well as charges for selling hot meat, they could also be in violation of RA 8485, or the Animal Welfare Act of 1998.
He also vowed to intensify his force’s efforts against animal cruelty and the illegal dog meat trade.
In March last year, we reported on a police swoop on a van in Agoo, La Union, carrying two sacks of dead dogs. These were also on the way to Baguio.
Then, in August, we reported on the chance discovery of 72 dog carcasses in a flat-bed truck following a traffic collision in Cavite.
AKF was founded by the late Leslie Wartenberg after he rescued his dog, Sweet, from the illegal dog meat trade.