Posted by : Dave Tan Wednesday, November 25, 2009

To the great disappointment and shock of animal welfare advocates, the UP Student Disciplinary Tribunal in its two-page decision dated November 5, 2009 dismissed the case filed against Joseph Carlo Candare, a BS Physics major of the UP College of Science for allegedly deliberately stomping a kitten to death last April 13, 2009.

Candare earned the ire of many animal lovers, and consequently, many animal rights groups for bragging about the incident on his personal log on the world wide web (web log or “blog”).

Excerpts from the infamous blog are as follows:
“I pulled it on its tail and threw it. Then like some pro wrestler I jumped on it and my feet landed on it's torso. Slam! Felt good!”

“This isn't the first time I've killed a cat but this time it's different. It didn't occur to me back then that the cat had a leash. So I think somebody owns it. Well it's very well loved in NIP from what I heard and I just ended it's life. So there you go I'm sorry. And I wont be striking another one for maybe about a month.”

Questions about Candare’s state of mind cropped up when blog-readers came across these statements from the 19-year old student:
“It feels good when your beating it(a cat) up but you suddenly feel something strange when it turns off permanently. That's how I feel right now. And maybe for the next days. Dang, am I a cat serial killer?”

“It is worrisome when a university declares that there is “no misconduct” in killing a helpless kitten in plain view of fellow students right within the school premises,” said Nancy Cu-unjieng, President of Compassion and Responsibility for Animals or CARA, the animal welfare organization that filed the instant complaint before the UP Tribunal.

Anna Cabrera, Program Director of The Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), agreed that the dismissal was “a dangerous precedent for a university to make”.

In a statement to the press, PAWS said: “The violence and deliberateness of the act which should have evoked outrage from school officials and a call for immediate disciplinary action was instead met with a shrug of the shoulders and a pronouncement that ‘killing animals – though it is a national crime – is, as ‘not even classified as an actionable misconduct under the university’s Rules.’”

“What message is the Tribunal sending out? Basically, it is implied that students can openly hurt animals and not face any consequences for their actions. We think that it is deplorable and shameful for an institution not to strongly condemn acts of animal cruelty,” commented Cabrera.

The three-member UP Tribunal composed of Ma. Crisanta Flores, Ma. Theresa Payongayong and Chairman Jonathan P. Sale stated in its Resolution that: While “it is true that Section 1 of the (Rules and Regulations on Student Conduct and Discipline) RRSCD states that, as the basis of discipline, ‘ a student shall at all times observe the laws of the land..’ and that part of the law of the land is Republic Act No. 8485 (the Animal Welfare Act), Section 6 of which makes it unlawful for anyone to torture or maltreat animals; and that Mr. Candare did to the kitten clearly constitutes maltreatment , if not outright torture... not all violations of laws are actionable misconducts.”

“Candare’s actions – deplorable though they may seem to some, if not most, people, do not constitute any misconduct actionable under University rules.”

“Consequently, it is thus respectfully recommended that the Tribunal DISMISS the instant complaint”

Violation of the Animal Welfare Act is considered a criminal act punishable with six months up to two years imprisonment or a fine ranging from P1000 to P5000.

While recorded prosecutions under this special law have been few since its approval in 1998, PAWS, who spearheaded the lobbying of the said law, is slowly making headway by helping an increasing number of ordinary citizens file cases against animal offenders in Court.

PAWS filed a criminal case against Candare before the QC Hall of Justice where the case is for resolution at the QC Prosecutor’s Office.

_______________________________

While the UP decision is lamentable, PAWS is hopeful that the criminal case it filed, which is still pending for Resolution at the QC Prosecutor's Office, will have better results.


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