SM City North EDSA has recently been thrust into the spotlight due to a disturbing incident involving one of their security guards. Jojo Malicdem stands accused of throwing a defenseless Aspin puppy from an overpass, prompting widespread public outrage and concern.
Photo credit: Facebook/Janine Santos
According to the statement submitted by the guard’s employer, RJC Corporate Security Services Inc., to the police, Malicdem attempted to justify his actions as "self-defense," claiming he was concerned that the puppy would “bite" him. He saw it as a “threat” to his safety. He did not throw it from the overpass, he merely pushed it away. But, a witness vehemently asserted that he hurled the poor puppy over the footbridge.
#DogYouKnow that animal cruelty is a CRIME? Any intentional act of causing harm, suffering, and neglect to animals is a violation of the Animal Welfare Act of the Philippines, also known as Republic Act 8485. Animal cruelty encompasses a wide range of abusive behaviors and actions directed towards animals, including physical abuse, such as beating, kicking, or hitting, as well as confinement in inadequate living conditions and subjecting animals to extreme temperatures. Denying animals access to food, water, shelter, and necessary veterinary care are also forms of animal cruelty. If found guilty, you could face penalties, even imprisonment!
In response to the incident, the mall issued an official statement that firmly asserted their position on the matter. They wrote: “As a pet-friendly establishment, we strongly condemn any acts that endanger or harm the lives of animals.” They have also taken immediate action by terminating the employment of the guard.
Photo credit: Facebook/Animal Kingdom Foundation
To send a clear message that acts of animal cruelty will not go unnoticed, animal welfare organizations - Animal Kingdom Foundation (AKF) and Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) - have filed a case against Malicdem. Under the provisions of the Animal Welfare Act, if the security guard is found guilty of the charges, he could face six months to two years of imprisonment. While this is a step towards accountability, it may not fully address the lasting harm inflicted upon the innocent animal or the emotional trauma endured by those who witnessed the incident. Many call for stricter penalties to better reflect the severity of the crime.
Dogs are known for their unwavering loyalty, love, and trust in us. As their caretakers, they rely on us for their safety and well-being. This puppy-throwing incident reminds us of the cruelty that animals can face at the hands of some humans. The sad truth is that there are still individuals among us who lack basic decency. The photograph showing the puppy's lifeless body makes it hard to imagine how a big, burly man could be so terrified of it. Claiming "self-defense" just raises more doubt about this person's character.
Research has shown that individuals who exhibit cruelty towards animals often demonstrate a propensity for violence. This pattern of behavior can, in fact, extend beyond animals. Intentional Animal Torture and Cruelty (IATC) offenses typically emerge in childhood or adolescence and are frequently linked to antisocial or psychopathic personality disorders. These acts of cruelty are not mere expressions of anger. Rather, they are utilized as a means to exert power and control over human targets, particularly family members such as children and the elderly. Abusers manipulate and punish their victims by subjecting their pets to torment or by threatening harm to beloved animals in order to coerce compliance or silence.
Have we turned into a society that abuses and kills animals mercilessly? How did we reach a point where innocent lives can be discarded so callously? This challenges us to reflect on our ethical treatment of animals. Now, more than ever, we must raise awareness about compassion, empathy, and responsible pet ownership. Let's work towards a future where incidents of animal cruelty become a thing of the past.