The Commission on Audit has enjoined government agencies maintaining K-9 units to observe the legal manner of subjecting unserviceable working dogs to euthanasia.
COA recently issued Memorandum Circular No. 2021-011 containing the guidelines on the disposal of unserviceable working dogs handled by various government agencies, especially those involved in public security and safety.
Unserviceable working dogs are those that have been retired, culled, poorly performing canines and animals that have sustained an injury or have developed a disease that incapacitate them despite medical intervention.
Euthanasia is one of the modes of disposing of working dogs that is allowed under the directive.
While COA stressed that mercy killing of animals is prohibited under Republic Act 10631 or the Animal Welfare Act of 1998, the audit agency said there are exemptions that government agencies may pursue.
Under the circular, killing of any animal may not be illegal under certain conditions that will be determined by a duly licensed veterinary officer.
Unserviceable working dogs may be killed to put an end to the misery it is suffering from, especially when the animal is in pain.
The dog may also be put to sleep if it has an incurable disease that is “infectious and/or contagious” that could pose in danger human lives or the whole kennel.
COA said euthanasia will also be allowed when the dog has “behavioral issues” that could endanger human safety.
Headed by Chairman Michael Aguinaldo, the COA authorized the agency veterinary officer as the sole authority to perform methods of euthanasia as provided under Department of Agriculture Order NO. 13, series of 2010.
The legal modes of conducting euthanasia are the following: 1. Intravenous injection – the process of injecting barbiturates into the blood stream or veins of the dog.
2. Intraperitoneal injection where the injection of barbiturates into the body cavity of dog such as the abdomen is done.
3. Intracardiac injection or administering barbiturates directly into the heart muscles to the chambers of the animal’s heart.
COA stressed that remains of the euthanized working dog ill be handled “in decent manner”. It will be buried in a designated cemetery or the agency’s K-9 unit compound.
COA MC-2021-011 was issued after state audit officials noted that there is an “absence of applicable mode of disposal for unserviceable dogs”.
State auditors said the lack of mode of disposable has burdened government agencies that are forced to maintain continuously maintaining and keeping in custody unserviceable working dogs.