PHUKET: The Nai Harn Beach dog situation is under control without officials having to take any drastic measures, Rawai Mayor Aroon Solos told the Phuket Gazette.
“We will not be banning pets at worker camps. However, we have dispatched municipality officers to ask that the residents take proper care of them and sterilize the dogs,” Mr Aroon said. “We’ve also determined how many dogs are owned as pets in the camp and will work to ensure this number does not grow.”
The problem with soi dogs along Nai Harn Beach and other parts of Rawai was thrust into the spotlight after complaints began rolling in to the municipality about the canines (story here).
However, Mr Aroon and John Dalley, vice president and CEO of the Soi Dog Foundation, assured the Gazette that the animals were no longer an issue.
“We have also asked that people only take their dogs for walks on the beach before 8am, as there are fewer beachgoers there at that time,” Mr Aroon said. “Some people like to see dogs on the beach and some do not, so we just have to find a balance.”
About 20 soi dogs live in the Nai Harn Beach area, all of which have been vaccinated and sterilized by the Soi Dog Foundation, confirmed Mr Aroon.
“Nai Harn Beach is home for many dogs that, for one reason or another, have no home of their own. They are cared for by local residents, Thai and foreign, who have even set up their own Facebook page (click here) with the support of Soi Dog, who vaccinate and neuter the dogs and care for any ongoing medical needs they may have,” Mr Dalley told the Gazette.
“The dogs provide company and pleasure to thousands of tourists every year, some who return year on year to see their canine friends.”
Local people who feed the dogs and take care of them are working hand in hand with the municipality and have agreed that the dogs should only be fed in specific locations, confirmed Mr Dalley.
One previous issue with the dogs in the area had been that they were being fed along the road encircling Nai Harn Lake, which is used by many cyclists, a situation that many saw as potentially hazardous.
“Soi Dog Foundation has sterilized and vaccinated all the dogs at the beach and over 80 per cent of all dogs in the Rawai area, which will see numbers reducing over time,” said Mr Dalley.
Mr Aroon pointed out that, though the dogs were friendly, he would continue to look for a possible place to relocate them. He also noted that the Suan Pa Bangkhanun Stray Dog Shelter in Thalang was already overcrowded and would not be considered a possibility.
“Removing all the dogs would serve no useful purpose, as other dogs would simply move in and take their place,” Mr Dalley said as a counter point, emphasizing that the current changes were moves in the right direction.
“The reality is that removing the dogs could well have a reverse effect, as the dogs living on the beach are friendly and pose no danger to the public. New dogs moving in to replace them may not be”.
— Nattha Thepbamrung
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