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Soi Dog Foundation responds to rabies and dog registration stories

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Soi Dog Foundation responds to rabies and dog registration stories | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Bangkok Thailand Soi Dog

Phuket’s Soi Dog Foundation has sent The Thaiger a response to an article published on October 16. The story was sourced from our Bangkok partners ‘The Nation’ and, according to Soi Dog, contains some glaring inaccuracies. You can read the original article HERE.

We reprint the response from the Soi Dog Foundation below…

“The Department of Livestock Development (DLD) carries out a survey, twice a year, in an attempt to count the number of dogs and cats in the country, both owned and stray. In 2016, it counted 7.3 million dogs and 3 million cats in Thailand, excluding Bangkok. This year the number of dogs was recorded by the DLD as 7,770,969, excluding Bangkok.

We at the Soi Dog Foundation carried out a census of free roaming dogs in Greater Bangkok two years ago and came up with a figure of 640,000, so a realistic number for dogs nationwide is somewhere around 8.4 million, not – as your story states – 820,000.

Another figure given in your story is that 40 per cent of stray dogs in Thailand could carry the rabies virus. If this were true, there would be hundreds of human deaths a year, if not thousands, and the carcasses of dead dogs would be scattered all over the place.

A story published by The Nation on September 28 (“Expert says rabies still not under control and official statistics may be misleading”) gave a DLD figure of 15.3 per cent for the first nine months of this year.

But even that is highly suspect. It was based on a very small sample – just 8,472 dogs. And those were 8,472 dogs that had been caught by the DLD, and their brains examined post mortem for the virus because they were believed to be rabid.

Plainly, to base a percentage infection rate on a sample made up entirely of dogs that are already suspected to have rabies is utterly misleading. It would be like saying, “We checked a bunch of people thought to have diabetes and found that 15 per cent of them did indeed have diabetes.”

The real figure must be much lower. We believe it is between 1 and 4 per cent.

At the root of all the problems being discussed is, in fact, Thailand’s ineffective garbage disposal problem system, which allows a high number of dogs to survive and even get fat by scavenging from trash bins.

Trying to remove 8 million-plus dogs to “shelters” is futile, and carrying out culls (which would probably be illegal under the Cruelty Prevention and Welfare of Animals Act of 2014) would be equally ineffective. Here’s why:

  • The cost of building shelters to hold 8.4 million dogs would be astronomical and the annual budgets for running them would equally expensive. It would be a huge drain on the national treasury.

  • Dumping dogs in government pounds would probably lead to large scale suffering and death, as was seen earlier this year when, as a result of the rabies panic, 3,000 dogs were crammed into the government animal quarantine facility in Nakhon Phanom. In just weeks, around 2,300 died from disease, starvation and wounds from fighting.

  • Dogs that were not caught in this proposed nationwide roundup, or which avoided being killed in a nationwide cull, would swiftly move into the territories of the dogs that had been removed, breeding rapidly and replacing them.

  • A female dog can have up to three litters of pups a year, each litter averaging seven pups. This means that one female and her offspring – and their offspring and so on – can become 67,000 dogs in six years. This is why an extended campaign of “catch, neuter, vaccinate and release” is so effective.

  • Even if all the dogs could be removed, the garbage problem remains, Other species would take over, notably cats, who breed even more rapidly than dogs, and monkeys. If they, too, were impounded – and cats and monkeys are far harder to catch than dogs – then the country would see an explosion in rat and mice populations. Outbreaks of bubonic plague transmitted by rats and their fleas would be far more frightening than rabies.

As we have seen in Phuket, large scale sterilisation, coupled with vaccination, works, not only in reducing numbers but also in eliminating rabies. It does require large scale investment, though far less than sheltering would, and spread over several years.

As to the issue of compulsory licensing of pets, whether there is a fee or not, we believe this is not a viable solution. It has been tried by other countries and then abandoned because the majority of dog owners – numbering in millions – simply decided not to comply.

Does Thailand have the resources to find, arrest and bring to court millions of dog owners, in order to extract small fines from them, always assuming that the authorities can prove in the first place that the dogs actually have “owners”?

We doubt very much that the government will find this is an effective measure for controlling Thailand’s population of strays, reducing abandonments or reducing the spread of disease. Indeed, it is likely to have the opposite effect.

SDF Founder John Dalley, Soi Dog Foundation, Phuket



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Immigration staff on alert after Thai jeweller bludgeoned to death in Bangkok

The Thaiger

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Immigration staff on alert after Thai jeweller bludgeoned to death in Bangkok | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Thai Rath

Thai border staff have been alerted after a female Thai jeweller was found bludgeoned to death in a Lat Phrao hotel room yesterday, in the northern Bangkok suburbs.

CCTV indicates that a likely suspect is a South African man seen going into the woman’s room.

Thai Rath reports that 35 year old Susama Reunrit from Kanchanaburi was found wrapped in a blanket on the floor by her bed in her room on the 6th floor of the hotel in Lat Phrao, Soi 130.

She had bludgeoned in the head.

Earlier the cashier had called to the room as it was time to pay. Customer service had contacted a man from the Netherlands who was a friend of Susama in an adjoining room. They used a spare key to enter her room only to find her dead body and call police.

Investigations show that Susama checked into the hotel at 9.50 pm on Saturday night then went out to eat. She returned at 4 am.

At 8 am a 38 year old man called Mzwakhe Memela from South Africa was seen on CCTV going into her room. He left the room at 8.45 am. No one else was seen going in or out of the room.

Lat Phrao police contacted immigration police as the hunt for the South African man began.

SOURCE: Thai Rath

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UPDATE: Election results – what it all means

The Thaiger

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UPDATE: Election results – what it all means | The Thaiger

The Election Commission says the official results of the Thai general election will be announced today.

By the close of counting last night around 92% of the votes had been counted. The bleary-eyed commission decided to delay the announcement until this afternoon.

The EC chairman says the announcement of winners in each constituency had to be deferred because expat’ votes from New Zealand had not arrived on time.

The election results were widely followed as internet sites went into meltdown (including The Thaiger) as people clambered for the latest booth counts.

The map, courtesy of Bangkok Post, shows that general voter sentiment was largely unchanged after five years of military rule with the north and north east still favoring the Pheu Thai (pro-Thaksin, pro-democracy) party, versus the rest of Thailand.

UPDATE: Election results - what it all means | News by The Thaiger

The Palang Pracharat (pro-regime) party and Pheu Thai were neck and neck all evening as the numbers rolled in from booths around the country. The two big surprises during the evening were the high polling of the new Future Forward party which clearly hit the right note with the seven million new eligible voters who exercised their democratic right for the first time. The other key aspect of the evening was the failure of the Democrats to woo their past constituency.

Thailand’s former PM Abhisit Vejjajiva said he will resign as leader of the Democrats.

State-owned television station MCOT calculated the distribution projection of all 500 lower house seats, including party list winners, also based on the election authority’s data. At 10 p.m., it forecast 146 seats would belong to the Thaksin Shinawatra-linked Pheu Thai, followed closely by the junta’s Palang Pracharat Party, at 141. MCOT expected the Future Forward Party to win 85 seats, Bhumjaithai 55 and the Democrats 36.

If MCOT’s estimate is accurate, the junta will have enough seats to make their candidate, Prayut Chan-o-cha prime minister.

The Bangkok Post reported an unofficial estimate for all 500 seats, also based on commission data. With 93% of the vote counted, Pheu Thai had the lead with 129 seats. Palang Pracharat followed with 117. Bhumjaithai was seen taking 49 seats, with the Democrats winning the same number. Future Forward was seen taking a surprising 78 seats.

BUT, the big issue that will be discussed today, is if Pheu Thai and Future Forward decide to collaborate, they could form a coalition that would come close to having a majority of lower house seats.

According to popular vote figures from the EC, Palang Pracharat garnered the most votes with 7.5 million, with Pheu Thai following at 7.3 million. But these figures do not necessarily reflect the actual makeup of the parliamentary seats to be announced some time today.

The lower house is made up of 500 members, 350 will come from single-seat districts. The remaining 150 will be distributed among parties based on how they fared nationwide.The current constitution states that the PM should be chosen by a majority of all 750 legislators, a number that includes 250 Junta-appointed senators.

An anti-junta coalition would need 376 lower house seats if its preferred candidate is to become PM.

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Bangkok

Counting continues today. Phalang Pracharat and Pheu Thai lead the way.

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Counting continues today. Phalang Pracharat and Pheu Thai lead the way. | The Thaiger

Pheu Thai and Phalang Pracharat were running neck-and-neck last night as ballots were counted around the country. The major parties swapped poll position as the night went on.

As of 10.30pm, with 92 per cent of the votes counted, the pro-junta Phalang Pracharat appeared to have beaten Pheu Thai with a total of 147 seats – 92 constituency MPs and 55 party-list. 

Pheu Thai came in a close second with 143 seats – 127 constituency MPs and 16 party-list – beating Phalang Pracharat in terms of constituency seats. 

Yet, when the ballot count hit 93 per cent, Pheu Thai had moved forward with 153 seats, while Phalang Pracharat ended with 142 seats. 

Results for the rest of the parties on the third to fifth place did not vary much. 

Political newbies Future Forward made major inroads, becoming the third biggest party with 85 seats – 29 for constituency MPs and 56 for party-list. Future Forward appears to have won the most party-list seats.

Bhumjaithai came in fourth with 54 seats – 43 constituency MPs and 11 from party-list. The Democrats had a dismal showing in the election and failed to make an impact on voter’s minds. Democrat leader Abhisit announced his resignation at 9.50pm.

Democrats won no seats in its stronghold of Bangkok. Of all 30 districts, 11 went to Pheu Thai, PPRP won another 10 and Future Forward won the remaining nine. Future Forward, in their first outing as a new party, were the big surprise of the evening.

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