Philippines: Island Rescue Organization (IRO) rescues animals...

...with help from their board of "dog-rectors"

Animal lovers in Cebu, Philippines now have an organization with a passion to help the abused and abandoned animals in their communities. This organization is called IRO, Island Rescue Organization Inc., established in February 2010 by animal lovers in Cebu City.

IRO has 20+ active human members and a dog board of directors. Their board of "dog-rectors" include three pitbulls: Barqs, Derrick, Chimal and one chow-chow: Sumu.

Barqs manages the online market through Facebook, and has achieved something this generation can truly appreciate . . .hundreds of friends and fans on Facebook! While Barqs continued to raise awareness for IRO through social networking, Derrick was hard at work protesting at Cebu Doctors University after a very bad incident between a janitor and a stray dog there. IRO members are currently taking criminal and civil legal action against Cebu Doctors University in an attempt to protect animal rights and prevent future similar occurrences.

IRO's mission is to promote responsible pet ownership, humane treatment of all animals, the development and enforcement of animal welfare laws of the country, and controlling the pet population through an active spay/neuter program.

One of IRO's goals is to promote the adoption of homeless companion animals. IRO plans to take adoptable dogs and cats from the Cebu City Pound in order to prepare them to find forever homes. Additionally, IRO wants to rescue dogs and cats that would otherwise be culled by local breeders (because of breeder-perceived imperfection) and make them available for adoption. In order to achieve this, IRO plans to build a no-kill shelter in order to give these dogs and cats a chance at life.

Karma, once a street dog living in Cebu, was found by IRO badly hurt after being hit by a car. IRO took in Karma, rehabilitated him, and then found him a wonderful home with his new roommate Rocky Balboa. Rocky Balboa was himself rescued by IRO from euthanasia at the Cebu City Pound.

IRO promotes the spaying and neutering of dogs and cats in order to lessen the homeless animal population, and plans to construct a spay/neuter clinic in their rescue center to make it available to all pet owners with limited or fixed incomes.

IRO's chapters in Samar and Aklan (both in the Philippines) already have rescue centers, initiated by private individuals and taken into IRO. The Samar chapter is called the Salamat Rescue Center and the Aklan chapter is the Aklan Animal Rehabilitation Center.

Since the start of IRO, many dogs and cats have been rescued, adopted out and re-homed. The organization is promoting fostering in order to provide temporary housing to stray cats and dogs, and funding for IRO has all been from fundraising events and individual support from the Philippines and the United States.

When the volunteers were asked why they joined IRO, many replied that it was because their hearts ache for the abused and abandoned animals in their communities. IRO is proud that the first rescue organization is now in existence in the Visayan region of the Philippines and although members are aware that they can"t save all of the animals at this time, they have certainly made a good start.

What you can do:

Photos: courtesy of Island Rescue Organization

First photo: Barqs, Chimal, Derrick, and Chumu (Board of Dog Directors)

Second photo: Derrick the dog protesting animal testing

Third photo: Rocky Balboa and Karma

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