Philippine mall cop fired for tossing puppy off 5m high footbridge
A mall cop at the Philippines’ largest retail chain was fired on Wednesday after he was accused on social media of throwing a puppy off a footbridge.
A Facebook post that has gone viral said the guard from a private security service provider, identified by the Philippine Daily Inquirer as Mr Jojo Malecdem, purportedly grabbed a puppy that two girls were playing with on Tuesday and tossed it off a footbridge nearly 5m high.
The footbridge connects to SM North Edsa, the Philippines’ second-largest mall owned by the family of the late retail tycoon Henry Sy.
Ms Janine Santos, who said she witnessed the incident, posted photos on her Facebook account of Mr Malecdem and the puppy being picked up, seemingly lifeless, by a pedestrian on the ground.
The mall cop was trying to shoo the two girls away, Ms Santos said. When the girls refused, he grabbed the puppy instead and hurled it off the footbridge.
“A man confronted the guard, and the guard told him, ‘I don’t care’. All of us who saw what happened were in near tears,” said Ms Santos.
Ms Santos said initially that the puppy did not survive the fall, but later disclosed that it was still breathing when it reached a veterinary clinic, though it might not survive its injuries.
In a statement, the SM Group said Mr Malecdem “has been dismissed and is no longer allowed to service any of our malls nationwide”.
“With extreme sadness, we sympathise with the group of youngsters regarding the incident that happened outside our mall today... As a pet-friendly establishment, we strongly condemn any acts that endanger or harm the lives of animals,” it said.
The company’s security contractor that directly employed Mr Malecdem said it had fired him.
The incident as disclosed on Facebook set off outrage online.
“He threw an innocent, poor puppy over a tall footbridge. My blood is f*** boiling!” Twitter user Ramil G. said in a post.
“I hate despicable, inhumane beings,” said another Twitter user with the account @lucasdancel.
Twitter user Lyka Gabrielle said she is now wary of taking her own dog to the mall. “That guard has no heart,” she said.
Tetsuya Makino, also posting on Twitter, said the incident should compel the SM Group to review its procedures when hiring private guards to make sure they are trained to deal with both people and pets.
The Philippine Animal Welfare Society said in a statement it was planning to file a case against Mr Malecdem for animal cruelty.