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Deadly link: Puppy factories and rabies

Tanutam Thawan

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Deadly link: Puppy factories and rabies | The Thaiger

(12 minute read)

A media release from soidog.org

The panic over rabies that erupted at the beginning of this year seems to have died down. Fourteen people have died; dozens of dogs were poisoned and thousands more died after being incarcerated in government pounds as officials across the country stumbled to stamp out the spread of the disease.

Yet absolutely nothing was done about a potentially deadly contributor to the spread of the disease: puppy factories and the sale of their product – puppies – in markets and pet shops.

There are well-run, well-meaning puppy factories in Thailand, whose operators are genuinely concerned for the welfare of the pups and look after them well. There are also families and individuals who breed their pets for a little extra income. They, too, look after the pups well.

But there are many other much darker places where the owners regard puppies solely as product, produced at the minimum possible cost in order to maximise profit. Puppies from farms such as these are trucked all over the country for sale to pet shops or in markets.

If the pups are not sold quickly, they are simply dumped. Why would anyone deliberately throw away “product”?

John Dalley, founder and leader of the Phuket-based Soi Dog Foundation, explains, “In a puppy factory, the ‘dams’, or producing mothers, are kept constantly pregnant until they can no longer produce, at which point they are useless to the factory owner, who dumps or kills them.

“The pups that have been taken to market but have not been sold, won’t be brought back to the factory; their mother is already pregnant with a new litter and won’t look after them.

“If you take a purely objective ‘lowest possible cost’ business approach to breeding dogs, there is no point in taking them back to the factory, where you would have to pay to feed them, because the mother will not. So, you dump them.”

He says that Soi Dog also comes across litters of pups with birth defects that have been dumped. He believes that these, too, are often the products of puppy factories.

“The owners don’t bother to bring in new blood until the increasingly excessive inbreeding between the mother dogs and their sons results in genetic disorders. Only then may they feel they have to bring in new bloodstock.

“But the defective pups have no value and are doomed to be thrown away.”

In addition, “pure bred” dogs often suffer from diseases caused by inbreeding. Breeds that are popular in Thailand because of their cuteness, such as Shi Tzus, French bulldogs and pugs, for example, are susceptible to breathing difficulties and eye diseases.

As the veterinary bills mount, some owners may decide it’s better simply to get rid of the dog.

Or the dog may die. Puppy factory owners don’t care, Mr Dalley says, if the cute puppies they are selling are in poor health and die after being bought. Indeed, if a cute puppy dies, the buyer may go back to the market to buy a replacement – for the vendor, that’s a double sale to the same buyer.

Also, thrown away or dumped in temples around the country are perfectly healthy pups that were sold to people who did not realise that puppies pee on carpets or sofas, or chew expensive shoes. They have no idea how to train their pup not to behave in such distinctly uncute ways. So, they throw them away.

Deadly link: Puppy factories and rabies | News by The Thaiger

To dog lovers all of this may seem horribly distressing but others may ask, “Why are you telling me this? How is it relevant to my life?” The answer is that there is an added dimension to puppy factories: the connection mentioned above between rabies and factory puppies.

Puppies need to be 12 weeks or older before they can be vaccinated against rabies.

But most factory puppies sold in markets and pet shops are much younger than that – as young as four weeks – because they are cuter and cuddlier and therefore sell more easily. But none of them are vaccinated. They are too young.

Thousands upon thousands of these very young pups are moved around the country every month, Dalley says.

“And given that many of the puppy factories are all about profit, they probably don’t spend money on vaccinating the mothers. If a dam contracts rabies, she will pass it on to her pups.

“Rabies is endemic throughout Thailand except, according to the government, in Phuket. Some parts of the country, as we have seen, can become hotspots. Imagine if unvaccinated pups from close to a rabies hotspot are brought to a market near you.”

What few people understand, he says, is that humans do not usually contract rabies from some crazed foaming-at-the-mouth monster that attacks them in the street. The majority are bitten by their own pet, or licked on an open wound – which transfers the virus just as effectively.

Particularly effective at transferring rabies are playful puppies, with their needle-sharp baby teeth. Unvaccinated puppies such as the ones from puppy farms.

There was a case 8 years ago that became a news headline when a pet shop owner of ‘Take Care Pet Shop’, located in the renowned JJ Market, in Bangkok, died of rabies after getting bitten by one of the dogs she was selling. The scare spread across the pet area of the market and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) had to warn customers from Take Care Pet Shop to monitor the puppies and dogs they bought from there. (news link https://news.mthai.com/general-news/68321.html)

Dalley says, “Given the ‘rabies outbreak’ scare earlier this year, I am surprised that the government has done nothing to regulate and curb the trade in factory-bred puppies.

“We saw they were capable of controlling the movement of livestock when the H5N1 bird flu took a grip on Thailand from 2004 to 2006.”

Those Thai government actions were effective. Seventeen people died in Thailand in that period. But World Health Organisation figures show that there have been no deaths from bird flu in Thailand since then.

“That unvaccinated puppies can legally be transported from rabies-endemic areas to a rabies-free area such as Phuket is madness,” Dalley says.

He notes, “In Thailand there are no regulations at present governing puppy factories which potentially are producing rabies-infected puppies and also adding to the stray dog problem.

“We would also like to see the government insist that dogs that are flown around the country must have proof of vaccination, and that police at check points be empowered to check that litters of puppies being transported by road also have proof of vaccination.”

And if you want a puppy, he adds, “At Soi Dog, we have many looking for new homes. They are healthy, fully” vaccinated and – best of all – they are free to a good home.”

Deadly link: Puppy factories and rabies | News by The Thaiger

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Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Phuket. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

Local Thai journalist speaking fluent Thai and English. Tanutam studied in Khon Kaen before attending Bangkok’s Chulalongkhorn University.

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Crime

Now you see him, now you don’t… Patong Police hunt foreigner over $30k theft

Greeley Pulitzer

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Now you see him, now you don’t… Patong Police hunt foreigner over $30k theft | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Patong Police

Patong Police have yet to develop any tangible leads tracking down a foreigner who made off with US$30,000 in cash from a currency exchange booth in Kalim, north of Patong in Phuket, last Tuesday.

The man is about 168 centimetres tall with grey hair and around 60 years old, Patong police told The Phuket News.

“We have no clue what nationality he is.”

He was last seen at the currency exchange booth wearing a purple polo shirt, blue jeans and black cap. Police have checked hotels in the area, police stations across the island and Phuket Immigration, but have yet to join the dots and come up with firm leads.

“Investigators have checked CCTV in the area and collected what evidence we have but we still do not know the man’s name or where he was staying.”

The man had visited the booth several times before Tuesday, when he disappeared with the $30,000 in US banknotes, according to police.

“It was always small amounts”, he added, noting that the amounts didn’t warrant staff at the exchange booth to check the man’s passport before making the exchange.

The man arrived at the booth again at about 1pm on Tuesday, saying that he had 900,000 baht cash to exchange.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Crime

Mystery surrounds security guard found dead in his Phuket room

Tanutam Thawan

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Mystery surrounds security guard found dead in his Phuket room | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Phuket Hot News

The security guard of a hotel in Nai Yang, northern Phuket, 52 year old Yingyot Butsabong, from Maha Sarakham province, was found dead yesterday (October 16) in his room. Police remain mystified how the man came to grief.

A woman named Supattra received a call from the hotel he worked at and was informed that he didn’t show up at work yesterday, so she went to his apartment to check on him.

She saw that his room was locked from the inside, so used the key she had in her possession to open the room and found Yingyot laying on the floor, face down. She thought he was just sleeping so she tried to wake him up but once she flipped him, she found that he already passed away.

She immediately called Saku police, and once on the scene, police found that there was some blood on the floor. The man had a 2 centimetre wound on his left eyebrow which was deep into his skull. There was also a wound on his chin about 1 centimetre long and about a centimetre deep. His left eye had a bruise which looked like he was attacked by a hard object.

Police report that he had been dead for around four hours in the room.

The room was not ransacked and there was no sign of fighting or theft. His body has been sent to Thalang Hospital for a detailed autopsy and to look into the cause of death.

SOURCE: Phuket Hot News

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People

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people

Nattha Thepbamrung

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‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | The Thaiger

On October 18, the ‘Always Smile Journey’ group and its partners will host an exhibition with plenty of fun activities at the Yak Yai Market, near Chalong Circle, in Phuket. This event was designed to raise funds to provide free English classes for underprivileged people on the island of Phuket on Saturdays and Sundays. The group does not accept donations but aims to raise money through the sales of the products available at the event.

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | News by The Thaiger

From 2 pm to 8 pm, there will be a number of artists, musicians and performers who will keep the attendees entertained along the way. There will be a short film about His Majesty King Rama 9 as well as fun activities and games for kids and families, which are all free of charge.

The big bike crew is also a part of this event. They will ride a parade from Rawai Beach heading to the market and showcase their gorgeous two-wheel buddies.

One of the highlights of the Always Smile Journey exhibition is the ‘Happening’ artists group, who will draw and paint a picture of the His Majesty King Rama 9 under the name ‘Street Art King Bhumibol’ on a 4×10 meter sign live at the event so the guests will experience this large-scale art in action. The Happening will also offer portrait sketching for the participants.

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | News by The Thaiger

One of the works created by the Happening team; a painting of HM the King Rama 9 on a huge wall (Photo credit: Chawat Chumpasan)

There will also be some western menus available at the event which will be donated to underprivileged children.

This free English class project has over seven years of experience through its cooperation working with individuals and other charity organizations. Throughout the years, the group visited several areas such as Ban Laem Hoy School, Ban Bopud School and Ban Angthong School in Samui, Surat Thani province, Ban Bueng Ao Oun School and Ban Kakoh Rayong, in Surin province, Jalae Village of Lahu (Muser) in Chiang Rai province, as well as community education centers in Siem Reap, Cambodia and in Luang Prabang, in Laos.

This event is a cooperation between several groups, including Happening, Yak Yai Market and Arrow Media, Tattoo artist group, Thonburi Art School Alumni, International School of Tourism, Suratthani Rajabhat University, big bike group from Phuket, artists/performers/musicians from many provinces as well as several businesses across Phuket.

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