The Nation

Dogs saved from dinner tables, but still in danger

The lives of almost 2,000 dogs have been saved just in time, before they were to be transported to a neighbouring country to be cooked and eaten.

But although they have been saved from dog-trader gangs, no one can guarantee they will be safe and survive in their crowded cages while a shortage of food threatens their lives.Some of the animals were reported dead or injured. The rest are at Nakhon Phanom Animal Quarantine Station. They looked exhausted after they were moved from the small cages to be put in the station's only big cage. But that cage, which has a maximum capacity of 500 dogs, now has to house 1,800. They have inadequate food and water, as the station does not have the budget to feed such a huge crowd of dogs.Nakhon Phanom Governor Rerngsak Mahawinijchaimontree said his team cooperated with animal-control staff and police to arrest the gangs on Thursday night.He said they arrested Montree Thanklang, 45, a Nakhon Phanom resident, and Pan Hai, 30, a Vietnamese, while they were in a truck containing 600 dogs passing through the province's Na Thom district. Four other trucks containing 1,200 dogs were seized while they travelled through Si Songkhram district, where police arrested Noppadon Chaiwangrot, 40, a Sakon Nakhon resident. Rerngsak said police were told that Noppadon had earlier released 600 other dogs into a forest."Police believe all the dogs would have been transferred to a ship waiting in Ban Phaeng district of Nakhon Phanom before going across the Mekong River to be sold in Vietnam, where lots of dogs are ordered to be cooked as famous exotic dishes." He said police pressed charges against the suspect under the Animal Epidemic Act 1956 that prohibits relocating animals to zones at risk of epidemics without permission. Previously, the province's authorities raided a place that housed dogs before they were traded in Na Wa district in June. Reportedly dogs price can bring prices of Bt500-Bt1,000. Most dog traders have been reported from Tha Rae district in Sakon Nakhon. They travel to villages to barter goods, especially plastic buckets - each bucket costs only Bt50-Bt100. The Animal Guardians Association has urged Rerngsak to seek better ways to help them. To help the dogs in terms of donations, adoption or providing them shelter, people can contact the governor, the quarantine station or the association.

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