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Updated: Jul 19, 2023

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.

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.

Gabay dog leash, dog treats, clicker

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  • Writer's pictureLestre Zapanta

As a dog owner, you may find yourself facing the dilemma of deciding whether to feed your pet commercially available dog food or table food. In this article, we will explore the benefits and concerns related to both options, considering factors such as cost, nutritional benefits, dietary requirements, and cautionary considerations.

#DogYouKnow that dogs are omnivores? They are naturally able to eat both plants and meat 👍

Dogs are omnivores. They require a balanced diet that includes proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and plant-based ingredients to support their growth, development, energy, and overall health. Keeping these in mind will guide you in evaluating the appropriateness of the different feeding options. So, let’s dig in to find the best food for your dog.


Commercial dog food can come in the form of kibbles or wet food. It is a convenient option for dog owners because it does not require additional effort in preparing. It is also readily available in pet shops, groceries, and online stores. This can be particularly beneficial for busy individuals or those with limited time for meal preparation. Moreover, it promises a well-balanced diet tailored to meet the specific needs of dogs.

Many brands even have specialized formulations for different life stages (puppy and adult), dog breeds, and flavors. There are also hypoallergenic and grain-free formulas for dogs with food sensitivities, weight management diets for overweight dogs, and prescription diets for dogs with specific health conditions. With commercial dog food, you can effortlessly provide your pets with a consistent and nutritionally balanced diet that supports their optimal health.

In addition, commercial dog food offers the advantage of a longer shelf life compared to perishable table food. This means there is a reduced risk of food spoilage, resulting in less waste and potential cost savings for dog owners. Moreover, commercial dog food usually provides clear feeding instructions based on your dog's weight, which helps to minimize the risk of overfeeding and ensures that your pets receive the appropriate portion sizes for their needs.

One criticism of commercial dog food is the quality of ingredients used as they may contain fillers, by-products, and artificial additives that may not provide any nutritional benefits. It is important to carefully read labels and choose reputable brands that prioritize quality ingredients. On the other hand, high-quality dog food comes with a premium price, which may pose financial challenges for many Filipino dog owners.

The kibble type usually comes in 1, 5, 10, and 20kg packs. One kilo of dog food typically ranges between Php 75 to Php 329. When evaluating the cost of dog food, it's important to consider the size of your dogs and their daily feeding requirements. Larger dogs will naturally consume more food compared to smaller dogs. Also, the frequency of feeding, whether it's twice or thrice a day, will definitely influence overall consumption and cost.


Many Filipinos find table food as more budget-friendly than dog food brands. Some choose to cook meals specifically for their dogs, while others prefer to share leftovers. Usually, these meals are rice-based, mixed with leftover food and scraps to enhance the taste.

But while table food can be appealing to dogs, it is crucial to be cautious about what foods are safe for them. Some human foods, such as chocolate, onions, grapes, and certain spices, can be toxic to dogs. There are also food ingredients like fish and seafoods that can potentially trigger allergies. Make sure that your pets have no food sensitivities before sharing any human food with them.

I remember a friend’s Siberian Husky, who had an allergic reaction to fish. He lost most of his fur and developed red, itchy spots all over his skin. In the meantime, his vet advised against feeding him dog food in order to remove any allergen sources and minimize further aggravation of his condition. So for a few months, his diet consisted only of rice, potato, and carrots. In this case, feeding him table food was the best course of action for managing his diet and overall health.

The main criticism for table food is that it lacks consistency in terms of nutritional content, making it challenging to establish a stable and balanced diet. Constantly switching food without proper transitioning can lead to digestive issues. Rapid changes in their diet may result in diarrhea, constipation, or abdominal discomfort.


Although commercial dog food may seem relatively more expensive upfront compared to table food, it does offer the advantage of being a nutritionally balanced diet. On the other hand, table food can provide variety, but requires caution, planning, and preparation. Remember, every dog is unique. What works for one may not work for another. Regardless of your chosen feeding method, always prioritize the specific needs of your dogs. Ensure that the food you provide is nutritionally balanced, safe, and free from ingredients that can be harmful to them. Your veterinarian is your best resource for guidance on the optimal diet for your dog.

Additionally, feeding dogs table food can lead to behavioral problems, such as begging, food aggression, and selective eating. Dogs may become more demanding and persistent in seeking human food, which can disrupt your mealtimes and create an unhealthy dynamic. Watch this.

How about you? What do you feed your dog? Comment below.

Warmest woofs,

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  • Writer's pictureLestre Zapanta

Updated: Jul 9, 2023

Filipino culture is renowned for its warm and welcoming hospitality. When a familiar person --- perhaps, a close relative, friend, or neighbor --- barges in without an invitation, we usually do not mind. But what if he or she gets bitten by your dog? Will you take responsibility?

Dogs are given the job, the license if you will, to guard and defend a property against intruders at all costs. Here in the Philippines, many expect them to act as bantay or guard dogs. Often, you will find them roaming in the yard, tied to the gate, or placed in a cage so that they can monitor the premises, spot intruders, and protect the territory. But who exactly should they protect you from? Criminals, of course! But can your dogs distinguish a threat from a non-threat?

What is a threat? A threat refers to a statement, action, or circumstance that expresses an intention or potential to cause harm, damage, injury, or negative consequences to someone or something. It involves the indication or perception of danger due to the behavior or presence of an individual, object, or situation. In other words, a threat involves having one's safety and security compromised.

Note: A pack of dogs barking at passers-by (Photo credit: Lestre Zapanta)

But what if the person on the other side of the fence is someone you know? Someone completely harmless and has no bad intentions? Maybe the person just forget to knock or ring the doorbell. Maybe in the past, he or she came in and out of our house freely and did not know that you recently acquired a dog. God forbid, it’s just a neighborhood kid who wants to get his ball back.


Place a "Beware of Dog" warning sign on your gate to alert people that there is a dog inside. This serves as a deterrent, both for intruders and intrusive people.

As dog owners, we need to understand that not all intrusions are equivalent to criminal behavior. And not all intrusive people have bad intentions. Unfortunately, many believe that the uninvited deserve to get bitten. This mindset overlooks the fact that some intrusions can be innocent or accidental. For instance, I get friendly visits from neighbors all the time. They enter unannounced to share their harvests with me. Of course, my dogs would rush to the gate and bark to alert me. But, we have never had any bite incidents. It is because they can sense that there was no imminent danger. This comes with a caveat though. If your intentions are not pure and if my dogs sense that I find your presence suspicious, then beware.

Intruders only include entities who pose a danger to our life and limb. Generally, neighbors are not a threat, neither are intrusive relatives and friends. We do not need our dogs to defend us against offenses that only violate etiquette. Such situations can be easily dealt with diplomacy. This does not, in any way, excuse people’s lack of manners or lapse in judgement. I merely wanted to emphasize that there is a difference between intruders and intrusive people. The question we should be asking ourselves is --- is there a presence of a clear threat?

When we leave it up to the dog’s discretion, he or she will consider everybody a threat. You will, then, have a guard dog that is anxious, nervous, and attacks unnecessarily. I cannot in good conscience allow my dogs to behave that way. It is my responsibility to train them to accept familiar persons when they visit. Unless there is an actual threat, a dog should never act on the defensive.

Do you have a problem dog? Book a dog training session with Lestre Zapanta today. Click here.

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