Phuket Island View – Soi Dog in it for the long haul

PHUKET: THE recent Gazette online story about Soi Dog Foundation’s new cat hospital prompted a forum comment that justifies a response.

The writer queried how the Soi Dog Foundation could justify spending money on such a facility at the same time it was appealing for funds to purchase the remaining land where its shelter and headquarters are based.

In 2009, the Soi Dog Foundation purchased about 4.6 rai of land in Mai Khao and at the same time entered into a rental agreement on the remaining 6.5 rai, with an option to buy it by October 2011 at a fixed price of 10 million baht.

In June 2010, we received an unsolicited offer from a large international trust to build a cat hospital on the site. At the same time, the American School of the Hague (ASH) also asked if they could raise funds specifically to help cats. The funds from these offers could be used for nothing other than the purposes stated. Specifically, the funds could not be applied to the land purchase..

At the end of 2010, the Soi Dog Foundation learned that the rented land was the subject of offers by developers and therefore we considered it to be an urgent requirement to buy it before the option expired.

An appeal was started at the end of 2010. The nature of the reporting of this led to some misunderstandings. At no point was the Soi Dog Foundation in danger of folding. In fact, the opposite was true and it continued to employ more veterinary teams aimed at doubling the number of sterilizations performed.

However, we made a decision that if the funds could not be raised then we would take an option to move off Phuket and sell the land already purchased to the same developer. As was reported at the time, this would have had a big impact on the stray population here which is currently under control and falling.

The trust committee was well aware of the situation and made an even larger donation to the land purchase. When construction started, it was clear from feedback from our international fundraisers that they were confident the target would be reached.

An offer to double donations from a major donor in Germany contributed significantly to this view and, as announced this week, the purchase of the land was completed ahead of schedule with the actual price paid reduced to about 9 million baht.

The Soi Dog Foundation is therefore delighted to be staying in Phuket.

Soi Dog continues to be managed by volunteers both here and overseas, where it is a registered charity in six countries. It now has an advisory board of experienced business professionals who are currently drawing up a 10-year business plan.

It was recently described as one of the fastest growing charities in the world and its aims are to expand throughout Thailand in the coming years. However, following the successful appeal, its headquarters will remain in Phuket and we are grateful to the local residents who helped make this possible.

— John Dalley

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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