BANGKOK – Thailand based Soi Dog Foundation, with the support of UK based Dogs Trust Worldwide, have announced the start of a new large scale dog sterilisation and vaccination programme in the Greater Bangkok area.
It said the Department of Livestock Development has pledged to support the programme that has started in the Latkrabang district of the capital.
In announcing the project Soi Dog Foundation president John Dalley stated: “that despite years of removing dogs, and other attempted means of control by the authorities, the canine population in Bangkok had continued to grow in line with the growing human population, and cases of rabies are still being found in the capital”.
“All the world’s leading authorities on rabies control, including the World Health Organisation and the Food and Agricultural division of the United Nations are united in their view that the best approach to eliminating human rabies is to vaccinate a minimum of 70 per cent of dogs, thereby establishing a herd immunity amongst the canine population. Random removal or culling of vaccinated dogs actually has a negative impact on controlling rabies,” he added.
“Reducing stray dogs in Bangkok is something that the authorities have tried to do for decades without success. It is time for a more strategic and sustainable approach, and the acceptance that the issue cannot be solved overnight. The speed at which the programme expands throughout Bangkok will depend on funding and the cooperation of the local authorities and the local communities. Without the support of local communities in providing suitable locations for mobile clinics to be set up, and allowing sterilised dogs to remain, the programme will not succeed. This will unfortunately result in the programme having to be redirected to assist in more cooperative communities instead,” he added.
The project will be aimed at both stray and owned dogs, offering a completely free sterilisation and vaccination service to the local communities in which they operate.
Soi Dog said it will work strategically, focusing on one district at a time before moving to the next adjacent district. Each team will comprise of two vets, nursing staff and two teams of animal handlers who will pick up the dogs. Local people will be encouraged to bring their own dogs to the clinics for this treatment.
Dalley stated that “The street dog problem is not a dog problem, it is a human behaviour problem. Owners who allow their dogs to roam unsterilised are irresponsible and have unknowingly created the stray dog problem we see today”.
The Soi Dog foundation is also seeking a minimum of sixteen rai of land in a suitable location to build a shelter and hospital similar to their internationally renowned facilities in Phuket.
Although the intention is to return dogs to where they came from, inevitably there will be some that cannot be returned because of disability or having been victims of cruelty and abuse. Dalley advised that “obviously such a facility needs to be within easy reach of the capital, but away from built up areas”, and appealed to Bangkok’s landowners to consider donating suitable land to Soi Dog Foundation for this purpose. “Such a shelter is not in the current project budget and will require significant further investment in the future” he added.
“I sincerely hope that Bangkok’s citizens will support this programme by offering suitable locations for the mobile surgical units to operate from, by bringing their dogs to the clinics for free sterilisation and vaccinations, and by allowing treated stray dogs to remain in their communities,” Dalley said.