THALANG: The great round-up of stray dogs in Phuket destined for the island’s new dog pound will start on Monday and is expected to continue until August 11. Phuket Provincial Livestock Office (PPLO) Chief Sunart Wongchawalit announced the plan at a meeting with other provincial officials yesterday at the Phuket Provincial Hall. More than 1,000 stray dogs will be brought to Baan Pak Sunak Phuket (Phuket Rest Home for Dogs), the controversial new facility in the Ban Suan Khanoon area of Thalang District. The pound’s capacity is 2,000 animals, K. Sunart said. “With the cooperation of Phuket’s 19 local administrations, we will catch stray dogs in tourism areas first. Each locality will be assigned two or three dates over the period during which to deliver the animals. Once delivered, the dogs will be separated by sex, sterilized and vaccinated,” he said. K. Sunart said that of the island’s estimated 14,000 dogs, only about 4,000 are true strays. He said dog owners should come and register their animals with their local administrations [to prevent them from being picked up]. He added that in the future the PPLO plans to implant microchips in all registered dogs, but that there is currently no budget for such a project. The cost of each microchip is 180 baht, and he estimates that about 9,000 of the devices will be needed. The PPLO will schedule a public hearing to discuss dog control regulations after the new dog pound is in operation, he said. In reference to concerns from Phuket’s dog-loving community that the dog pound will become a canine killing field, with strong dogs killing off the weak ones, Chief Sunart said, “The aggressive dogs will be separated and isolated in cages.” “Actually, we aren’t too worried about this. I have worked with dogs for more than 30 years and I know that dogs tend to be aggressive only within their own territory. When we put together dogs from different areas, aggression will not be such a big concern.” Regarding how the animals would be fed, Phuket Governor Udomsak Usawarangkura said he would contact the Southern Chapter of the Thai Hotels Association (THA) to try and organize the THA’s 400 member-hotels on the island to donate leftovers to feed the dogs. He said this would be easier than trying to organize each of the 19 local administrations to provide food. The dog pound now has about three tonnes of dry dog food, which K. Sunart estimates will last about one month. Noting that the dog pound has received little support from the island’s several dog welfare foundations (who believe the number of dogs to be housed at the facility is a recipe for disaster), K. Sunart said that a new foundation would be set up to raise money for the dogs’ upkeep. The PPLO also plans to build a “dog condominium”, a kennel where dog owners can leave their pets for a cost of 50 baht per day while they are off the island. The dog condo will be separated from the rest of the facility and will comprise 200 individual cages, K. Sunart said. These initiatives will help pay for the long-term care and feeding of the stray animals kept at the facility, he said. See bulletin at https://thethaiger.com/bulletins/index.asp?Id=761 for the round-up dates in each locale.
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