The Soi Dog Foundation, in cahoots with Dogs Trust Worldwide, are stepping up to the plate and launching a new mega project to sterilise and vaccinate the population of Bangkok’s street dogs, reports The Nation.
Aiming to work with the local communities in the Thai capital, the programme seeks to target the estimated 640,000 population of soi dogs with a number of mobile surgical teams working strategically, district by district. Owned dogs will also be offered treatment for free under the scheme.
“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,” said John Dalley, president of Soi Dog Foundation.
The project is estimated to cost 550 million baht and will run for 7 years. The Department of Livestock Development is also getting behind the initiative.
Mobile teams, each comprised of 2 vets, a nurse and a number of handlers, will be vaccinating, spaying and neutering dogs that are either located and collected by the handlers, or brought in by their owners.
Dalley is clear that the support of Bangkok’s communities is crucial: “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.”
Previous attempts to tackle the problem of Bangkok’s soi dogs have been unsuccessful and have seen the dog population grow in line with human growth.
“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,” said Dalley.
“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.”
Based in Phuket, Soi Dog Foundation have been sterilising Thailand’s soi dogs since 2003, at numbers well over 100,000 now. Euthanasia is only administered in cases where the dogs are suffering with no chance of recovery, as the foundation knows that a significant reduction in the number of street dogs is only possible with widespread sterilisation.
According to their website, it costs around 1,000 baht to spay or neuter a dog, which includes the costs of drugs and supplies, vet fees, as well as the overheads association in catching the dogs and running a clinic.
The foundation has seen significant success with their ongoing sterilisation programme in Phuket. Hopefully, this success will be emulated in Bangkok.
Featured image is by Hanumann and used under a CC BY 2.0 licence