Pound electrocutions stopped in Manila

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 1995:

MANILA––Seeking a cheaper,
faster way to kill dogs than either lethal injec-
tion or use of an antiquated carbon monoxide
chamber, Manila Veterinary Inspection Board
members Manuel Socorro and Condenio
Panogan reportedly electrocuted approximate-
ly 100 dogs from mid-May 2005 to mid-July
before word of their work leaked out.
“Socorro “said they were given a
one-year permit by the Bureau of Animal
Industry to conduct a study of electrocution as
a tool to put down dogs,” wrote Evelyn
Macairan of The Philippine Star. “This
involved conducting a series of tests wherein
the voltage would be set starting at 100 volts
and be slowly raised to 500 volts.”

Four days after Philippine Animal
Welfare Society volunteer and veterinary stu-
dent Emil Reban witnessed some of the elec-
trocutions and described what he saw, the
Bureau of Animal Industries’ Committee on
Animal Welfare revoked the permit “immedi-
ately and indefinitely upon hearing PAWS
president Nita Lichauco’s petition to cancel
it,” e-mailed PAWS member Ramona Eliza T.
Consunji on July 11.
“There was also the majority deci-
sion never to grant another permit for electro-
cution, whether as an experiment or as a solu-
tion to control overpopulation of any animal,”
Consunji added. “The city mayor of Manila
informed PAWS through his son, former coun-
cilor Kim Atienza, that they will now use
lethal injection for euthanasia.”
Reban testified that dogs were
pinned in varying positions by the steel roof of
the electrocution cage, and were shocked with
300 volts for three seconds, but mostly sur-
vived in pain until shocked a second time. As
many as 10 other dogs witnessed each electro-
cution while awaiting their own deaths.
Receiving Reban’s report on July 8
from PAWS volunteer Anna Nieves Hashim
on July 8, ANIMAL PEOPLE i m m e d i a t e l y
forwarded to her the American Veterinary
Medical Association Report on Euthanasia,
which lists electrocution as an unacceptable
means of killing dogs and cats.
ANIMAL PEOPLE pointed out
that the Royal SPCA of Great Britain experi-
mented with electrocuting animals from
approximately 1885 until about 1928, before
concluding it could never be considered
humane by British standards.
The RSPCA exported their six elec-
trocution machines to India during a rabies
panic circa 1930. Dogs were legally electro-
cuted in several cities of India until the last of
the RSPCA machines known to remain there
was dismantled in 1997. Some of the RSPCA
machines may still be used in Pakistan, which
was still part of India when they arrived.
Dogs continued to be electrocuted
with a makeshift device in the city of
Visakhapatnam until 1998, when Visakha
SPCA founder Pradeep Kumar Nath and Help
In Suffering trustee Christine Townend
stopped it.
“Electrocuting dogs is the cruelest
way of killing them,” Nath e-mailed to
PAWS, offering his help. We secretly video-
taped the procedure to show to the world and
got a court order stopping it. We have now
shown that the proper alternative to dog over
population is animal birth control.”
PAWS incorporated the A N I M A L
P E O P L E and Visakha SPCA statements into
their own brief against the electrocutions.
Manila mayor Lito Atienza said he
had not been aware that the city pound was
using any method other than lethal injection to
kill dogs.
The electrocutions started at approx-
imately the same time that Manila hosted an
event called “Dog Walk for a Cause,” trying
to beat the Guinness record for the most dogs
ever assembled and to promote awareness
about preventing cruelty to animals.
The event attracted 7,469 dogs to
five-kilometre walks in Manila and 23 other
designated areas, easily beating the British
record of 5,017 dogs, set in 2004.
Dogs are still routinely electrocuted
in several other nations, including in parts of
Mexico, where encouraging a transition to
lethal injection was part of Sean Hawkins’
work with the Spay/Neuter Assistance
Program missions south of the border, and
will continue through his new organization,
Saving Animals Across Borders. (Page 16.)
Hawkins’ preferred alternative, like
Nath’s, is high-volume sterilization to keep
dog overpopulation from becoming a problem
in the first place.
Manila presently has no high-vol-
ume low-cost sterilization program.
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