PHUKET TOWN: Dog owners in Phuket Town have been warned to keep their animals at home until the end of September as a drive to shoot stray dogs gets underway. Municipal employees, hunting in teams of four, will use darts fired from powerful air guns to kill any stray dogs found on the streets of Phuket Town. The carcases will be collected and buried near the city’s new incinerator on Koh Pii. Municipal Councilor Tossapol Assavadamrongdej said that Phuket Municipality had received complaints from many people worried about stray dogs barking at or attacking people, raiding bins and spreading garbage around, and spreading disease. The drive to kill the animals was condemned by Christine Bond, an active member of the Phuket Animal Support Group. “You don’t solve the problem by shooting them. This is a short-sighted, inhumane solution,” she said. “Considering this is a Buddhist community, I’m astonished. The compassionate and humane way to solve the problem is to stabilise the dog population by spaying [neutering] the animals, and at the same time educating the community about how to handle and care for animals.” She recalled the last time such a drive took place. “They were shooting them on the beach, right in front of the tourists as they were eating their noodles. It was a great advertisement for Phuket.” But airport van driver Chaiwat Pongporn had a different point of view. “The dogs are driving us crazy,” he said. “At night we cannot sleep for the barking, and my kids are afraid to walk to school in the morning. Are these animals more important to us than our children?” Khun Tossapol meanwhile announced that dogs which have not been vaccinated for rabies may be taken to the second floor of the Health Service Center Number 2 on Sri Sena Rd, about 500 meters from Phya Thai Phuket Hospital, for free injections. Opening hours are 9 to 10 am, Monday through Friday.
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