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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
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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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Bangkok

26 year old British man leaps to death from 13th floor in Bangkok

The Thaiger

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26 year old British man leaps to death from 13th floor in Bangkok | The Thaiger
MAP: Din Daeng district in Bangkok

A British man, working in Bangkok as an English tutor, jumped from a 13th floor residence, in an alleged suicide. A neighbour discovered the man’s body while dumping rubbish on Thursday morning outside the apartment building in Bangkok’s Din Daeng district.

Police report that they were told the 26 year old was depressed and worried because his income had evaporated during the Covid-19 crisis.

A security guard at the property told police that he’d “heard something hit the ground” on the Wednesday night but failed to investigate. A Thai friend of the deceased told police that she’d known the man for six months and had recently invited him to help her prepare items that people could use as protection against the virus.

“It would bring them both a little income,” she told police.

The two were working on the project earlier on Wednesday evening when the man left at around 8pm. She says he never complained about anything and she had no idea he might be suicidal.

The British Embassy has informed the man’s relatives in the UK.

If you or anyone you know is in emotional distress, please contact the Samaritans of Thailand 24-hour hotline: 02 713 6791 (English), 02 713 6793 (Thai) or the Thai Mental Health Hotline at 1323 (Thai).

SOURCE: The Nation

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Bangkok

Airports of Thailand approves Don Mueang expansion

Anukul

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Airports of Thailand approves Don Mueang expansion | The Thaiger
PHOTO: twitter@RenderThailand

Yesterday, the Airports of Thailand (AoT) board gave tacit approval of a master plan for the third-phase development of Don Mueang International airport costing an estimated of 39 billion baht. The expansion arrangements includes, increase of the airport’s capacity to 40 million passengers a year (currently 30 million a year), a 3.4 kilometre automated people mover system (APM), new car park buildings and a junction terminal offering retail shop space.

Don Mueang was the location of the one and only Bangkok international airport until Suvarnabhumi was opened in 2006. Don Mueang then became the defacto hub for many domestic and international budget airlines.

The new junction terminal plans will cover 100,000 square metres and include commercial space to boost the airport’s non-aviation income by 40% to 50%.

The new APM system will support the airport’s capacity to handle increasing passenger and should also ease crowding and congestion at the airport, which has been effecting traffic jams on the adjacent Vibhavadi Rangsit Road.

The AoT board has also approved the outcome of bidding for duty-free counters at Don Mueang airport. Winning the bid King Power Development will be operating the duty-free pick-up counters for 10 years and three months, from October 1, 2022 to December 31, 2032. (Surprise, surprise!)

According to a source, the development plan will be submitted to the Transport Ministry and the National Economic and Social Development Council for review before it goes to the cabinet for approval. Changes to the project will be included in the environmental impact assessment report. The bidding for the third-phase development project is expected to take place within this year at the earliest.

On another current matter, the board has also proposed relief measures to help airlines cushion the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak. The proposed measures include a 50% cut in landing fees and parking fees for domestic flights and international flights from and to countries heavily affected by the virus outbreak. However, the proposal will have to be approved by the cabinet before it takes effect. Read more HERE.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Bangkok

Tuk-tuk driver assaults Grab driver in Bangkok

Anukul

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Tuk-tuk driver assaults Grab driver in Bangkok | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Screenshot of tuk tuk assault - INN News

Another Thai tuk tuk driver has been caught out trying to defend his ‘turf’. Tuk Tuk driver Ek has been charged with assaulting a grab car driver after dropping off passengers in front of a mall on Ratchadapisek Road, Bangkok.

After the incident went viral online, Police Colonel Purit Jintranan invited both drivers for a talking at the Huai Khwang station, north of the Bangkok CBD.

After discussing the events, which occurred on March 11 and 12, Tuk Tuk driver Ek has now been charged with 4 different violations, including ‘kicking’ the Grab driver, and will be sent to prison today. However the Grab Car driver has asked the police to let Ek go and “forgive him”. He didn’t press charges. But police maintain that “there will be no mercy” and Ek will have to go to prison and investigate his legal options from there.

Admitting that he attacked the Grab car driver, Ek believes that the Grab drivers “are showing bad intentions towards local taxis and tuk tuks in the area”. He maintained that there are “no taxi mafias in the area” and was where he was consistently waiting for passengers. Ek said that he “wished that the other drivers acting as mafia in more developed areas (in town) would disappear because as a driver he is working a clean honest job just like the Grab drivers”.

SOURCE: thairesidents.com | INN News

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