April 05, 2012
SAN PABLO, Philippines: Twenty-five pitbulls rescued from an online dog-fighting racket run by South Koreans in the Philippines have been put down, and another 215 could also be destroyed, rescuers said.
All the dogs, rescued by police from a farm south of Manila last week, could be destroyed unless people came forward to adopt the least aggressive ones that could still be nursed back to health, a vet, Wilford Almoro, said.
Most are weakened by dehydration and poor nutrition, and many of those that were destroyed had serious injuries, Dr Almoro, of the Philippine Animal Welfare Society, a charity that rescues and rehabilitates abused animals, said.
The remaining dogs' ''condition could go downhill in the coming days, and if no one will help, then they would have to be put down as well'', he said.
Seventeen dogs with the worst injuries were put down on Saturday, including one that had half its tongue ripped out and another with both its ears bitten off.
Eight other dogs were destroyed on Tuesday, and another five were set to be put down later in the day, Dr Almoro said. ''Some have unhealed wounds, but most are down to skin and bones and their rib cages are showing.''
He said most had scars from being wounded in fights.
Dr Almoro estimated that physical rehabilitation for all the animals would cost 3.34 million pesos ($76,200) and they would also need treatment to correct their aggressive behaviour.
After police raided the 2 hectare farm, they arrested 12 people, including eight South Koreans accused of running the illegal dog fights that were streamed live on the internet to spectators who placed bets.
Dog fighting does not have a large following in the Philippines, unlike cockfighting, which is the country's most popular sport and sees roosters with metal spurs tied to their legs forced to fight to the death.
Dr Almoro said the dogs had been kept in abominable conditions, tied up with chains in an orchard hidden from view by high walls of sheet metal.
He urged the Philippine parliament to amend and toughen up the law against animal cruelty, now punishable by a maximum prison term of two years and a 6000-peso fine.