De Lima lauds ‘Mang Anton’ for selfless love for stray dogs, calls him unsung hero


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Senator Leila M. de Lima has commended Anton Velasco for selflessly taking care of and unfailingly showing his concern for stray dogs despite his poor living conditions.

De Lima, an animal lover who has a soft spot for dogs and cats, said she is relieved to know that Velasco, referred by many as “Mang Anton”, has been found by an online pet store after he was reported to be missing last March 5.

“Mang Anton is one of the unsung heroes of this pandemic. Ngayong panahon ng pandemya, sa kabila ng mas mabigat na pasanin at hirap ng buhay, doble kayod siya sa pag-aaruga sa kanyang mga anak, at pagmamalasakit at pagkupkop sa mga alaga niyang aso,” she said.

“With a new home and a new job, better days await him, his family, and their furry companions,” she added.

Velasco, who has been living with his two kids and several dogs in a pedal-operated tricycle for roughly five years now, has been located by online pet store Petster.PH recently.

In a Facebook post, Petster.PH announced that they gave Velasco, his kids and 10 dogs a home, and already offered him a job at the Petster shelter.

Prior to this, it was reported that Velasco would regularly push their makeshift home barefoot on the streets of Manila to collect discarded items and sold these items to ensure that he and his family will have something to eat.

De Lima, who owns dogs of different breeds and has stray cats inside her detention quarters in Camp Crame, stressed the importance of paying attention to the well-being of animals.

“Like humans, animals – especially dogs who are sweet and loyal in nature – need love and affection from us. Their needs should never be overlooked,” she said.

“I personally miss my dogs given that I cannot be with them right now considering my current situation, but I am at ease knowing that they are being taken care of by the people I trust,” she added.

In an online survey conducted by researchers in Spain, Israel, and the United Kingdom of pet owners in their countries, it was found that pandemic restrictions are making pet owners concerned for their pets’ well-being as some pets are exhibiting signs of stress, such as increased barking, fear of loud or sudden noises, and anxiety when at home alone.

“This study just reminds us that our pets need our love, concern and affection,” De Lima reiterated.

Meanwhile, De Lima lauded Petster.PH for showing concern for Velasco and his dogs, saying, “May God continue to bless them. May you continue to inspire others, especially those with enough resources, to do such good deed.”

In 2019, it may be recalled that lady Senator from Bicol also lauded a security guard for rescuing a stray cat, named Van, after the feline was tied to and dragged by a truck at Araneta Center in Cubao, Quezon City. The unnamed security guard reportedly cut the rope and freed the cat who was then already limping and in pain. (30)

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