New animal shelter nears completion

PHUKET: The Soi Dog Foundation (SDF) has announced that a new dog shelter, animal hospital and education center will open next month in Mai Khao.

Situated on 10 rai, the new facilities will not replace the government-run dog pound in Thalang, where the SDF has been operating for the past 15 months.

In November, the SDF received a letter from the Phuket Provincial Livestock Office (PPLO) offering thanks for help with improving the pound at a time of financial hardship.

The letter stated that the PPLO now had a budget to run the pound independently, an SDF spokesperson explained.

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The SDF had spent more than 2 million baht on new shelters, fences and drainage, as well as the construction of a clinic at the pound. Additional staff were employed along with a full-time vet.

In return, the PPLO allowed the SDF to house rescued animals and those in need of treatment at the facility.

With about 180 dogs in its care, the SDF made an emergency appeal to international supporters for funds to build a new shelter.

Foundation member Gill Dalley, who was recently named an ‘Asian of the Year’ by Singapore-based Channel News Asia, said the SDF was overwhelmed by the positive response and number of donations made though its www.soidog.org website.

Work on the new facilities began in November and is expected to be completed by the end of this month.

As well as providing accommodation for Thai veterinary staff and shelter workers, the new shelter will comprise an animal hospital with two operating theaters, treatment areas and isolation units, an education center and hygienic enclosures to house animals rescued from abuse and neglect, said Mrs Dalley.

A primary goal of the new facility will be to find new homes for rescued animals, she said. “Most of the dogs rescued would make ideal family pets. This is evidenced by the increasing number of dogs adopted by Europeans, North Americans and even Japanese. About 200 dogs and cats were re-homed by the foundation in 2007,” she added.

“The dog pound is basically a place where local authorities can round up dogs to keep them off the streets. While we understand the motive, historically, such methods of population control have not worked as other dogs rapidly take their place,” said Mrs Dalley.

“The foundation believes that it is far better to sterilize a local population that will then guard their territory from outsiders without being able to increase their numbers,” she added.

The SDF accepts that after seeing a reduction in the local dog population, numbers are creeping up again in some areas, particularly where sterilized dogs were removed. This is because of financial constraints that limited the number of dogs the SDF was able to sterilize in 2007, Mrs Dalley explained.

The SDF website states that the foundation sterilized 17,203 dogs and cats from October 2003 until the end of 2007.

With the co-operation of the PPLO, the foundation is now looking to sterilize large numbers of dogs and cats this year. Money will be raised through increased support from overseas and at least two major fundraising events planned for the summer, Mrs Dalley said.

Phuket News
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