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4th Impact draws flak over fundraising for 'dreamland' of 200 dogs

By JUSTINE PUNZALAN Published Mar 02, 2024 5:53 pm Updated Mar 02, 2024 6:14 pm

"Irresponsible pet ownership" and "ridiculous."

This is how social media users have been describing the fundraising campaign of Filipino girl group 4th Impact for the construction of the "dreamland" of their 200 dogs.

On Feb. 28, the group of siblings' eldest sister, Elvira, put up a GoFundMe page that would help them relocate their scores of pooches to a new home. The page, which was originally titled "Farm Lot for our 200 Shih Tzu dogs," was shared by 4th Impact's Mira on her social media profile shortly after.

On the website, Elvira explained how she and her sisters were given five shih tzu puppies by their fans. Although the gift caught them by surprise, Elvira said they still took on the challenge of taking care of the puppies well.

She wrote, "Hello fellow dog lovers and our dear fans, My name is Elvira, and I’m here with my sisters 4th Impact, a Filipina singing group. Today, I’m reaching out to you with a heart full of love and a humble request for support."

"Our journey with our beloved dogs began with a gift from our fans - five precious Shih Tzus," she continued. "Over time, our passion for these furry companions led to unexpected blessings, but also unexpected challenges. Despite our busy schedules, we’ve poured our hearts into caring for them, watching them grow from newborns to cherished members of our family."

She went on, saying that their dogs eventually multiplied and so did their "need for space and resources." However, she and her four sisters were not able to fulfill that need when chasing their dreams in LA.

"Our neighbors raised concerns about the noise, prompting us to make the heart-breaking decision to temporarily separate some of our dogs, particularly the males from our home," Elvira recalled.

She noted that separating their dogs from each other pains them "deeply" as the pooches are part of their family and that their "well-being means everything to [them]."

With that, Elvira and 4th Impact have decided to build a "dog haven" for their dogs and are now calling for everyone's help in turning their "dream into reality."

"We dream of providing our furry friends with a safe and expansive farm where they can live out their days in happiness and freedom. It’s a dream born from our deepest love and dedication to these animals who have brought us so much joy," she wrote.

"Your generosity and support would mean the world to us. Every contribution brings us one step closer to turning our dream into reality. And as we embark on this journey, we want to express our heartfelt gratitude to each and every one of you."

Elvira concluded the post with a link to their YouTube vlog which is no longer available online as of writing. The page also states that their total target of donations is $10,000 (P560,275) and that they have collected (P46,200) so far.

A day after the page was launched, social media users took to X to call out the group for their "irresponsible ownership" of the dogs, as seen on how they allowed them to multiply to 200.

One user tweeted, "Pinaabot sa 200 yung mga aso niya tapos ngayon, nanghihingi siya ng donations kasi nagrereklamo na kapitbahay niya and she needs to rehome them or buy a farm. Malamang sis????? Why did you let them reach 200 in the first place????"

Another one wrote, "As a dog owner myself. (Actually DOGSSSS), you must be responsible sa pag aalaga ng pets nyo. Imagine may 100++ kayong aso pero di nyo naisip na pagawan muna sila ng maayos na place na walang mabubulabog."

One user pointed out how the siblings should have spayed their dogs to prevent them from breeding: "Ugh this 4th impact post ended up on my feed. So you're telling me you didn't spay your dogs and let it reach 200. And now you're asking for funds so you can buy a place for them? This is simply irresponsible pet ownership! It's ridiculous!"

Another user agreed by saying, "Di nila narealize na negligent sila and may grounds for animal cruelty na yung paulit-ulit na nag i-inbreed dogs nila. They would've prevented that kung ipinakapon nila mga aso in the first place."

Similar to this, another user named Doc Gab - Veterinarian took to Instagram to educate the public on why backyard breeding and inbreeding of dogs should not be supported by all means.

"Sa dami ng mga nahihirapan na mga shelters at rescuers, nakakalungkot na makakita ng ganitong sitwasyon — purebreed dog na nagsimula sa 5, ngayon ay 200 na," he began his post. "Hindi sapat na mayroon silang pagkain at tirahan, dapat ay sapat, maayos at tama ito para sa kanila."

The poster also stressed that "backyard breeding" is against Philippine law: "Ang pagpaparami ng mga alagang hayop through “mating” sa sariling bahay na walang kaukulang permit ay tinatawag na “backyard breeding” at ito po ay illegal. Lalo na kung ang mga ito ay ibinebenta o pinagkakakitaan."

According to Section 2 of the Animal Welfare Act or RA 8485, no persons, association, partnership, corporation, cooperative, or any government agency or instrumentality in the country "shall establish, maintain, and operate any pet shop, kennel, veterinary clinic, veterinary hospital, stockyard, corral, stud farm or zoo for the breeding, treatment, sale or trading, or training of animals without first securing from the Bureau of Animal Industry a certificate of registration."

This certificate, meanwhile, will only be issued to establishments if they are "adequate, clean, and sanitary and will not be used for, nor cause pain and/or suffering to the animals."

In addition, the poster said that "inbreeding" or breeding from closely related animals results in offspring with many health complications.

He continued, "Sa laki ng problema natin sa animal/stray population at animal welfare abuses, ‘wag na sana tayong dumagdag pa. Ipakapon ang mga alaga kung hindi kayang kontrolin ang kanilang pagdami. Hindi na ito pagmamahal kung sarili lamang natin ang ating iisipin at hindi ang kanilang pangmatagalan na kapakanan."

4th Impact has yet to release an official statement about the issue. The group is composed of siblings Almira, Irene, Mylene, and Celina who all hailed from Roxas, Isabela.

They rose to fame when the quartet joined the twelfth season of The X Factor UK in 2015. They finished the talent competition among its Top 5 finalists. Their hits include All At Once, Here We Go, Leave the Door, and Pasulyap-sulyap, among others.