The Soi Dog Foundation on Friday started its canine sterilisation and vaccination programme in Koh Samui, Koh Tao and Koh Phangan to prevent further unwanted dogs being born, eliminate rabies, create a smaller, healthier and more sustainable population of dogs, and improve the environment for both animals and humans.
The programme will target a minimum of 80 per cent of the dog population in the islands, estimated to be around 10,000 animals, and will take a minimum of nine months to complete.
All funding will come directly from Soi Dog Foundation, which earlier this week mobilised a core team of two veterinarians, three vet nurses, four dog catchers and a manager. The team will target sterilising and vaccinating around 50 dogs per day, and will work systematically through each island, starting in Wat Bo Phuttharam in Samui. The Samui programme will take in seven districts and 39 villages
John Dalley, president and co-founder of Asia’s largest animal welfare organisation specialising in the welfare of street dogs and cats, said: “We had received a number of requests from people based in Samui over the years asking for us to conduct a mass sterilisation and vaccination programme there. Up until now we simply did not have the resources to help out. Sterilisation and vaccination remains the only known sustainable and ethical way to reduce stray populations over time, and it is at the very heart of Soi Dog. Given time and resources, we intend to carry out such programmes right around Thailand, which is home to over 8 million street dogs alone. This alone indicates the nature of the challenge we are facing”.
Since Soi Dog Foundation started sterilising and vaccinating street dogs and cats in Phuket, back in 2003, the organisation has now achieved over 165,000 sterilisation operations, mainly in Phuket, Khao Lak, Phang Nga, and Bangkok. As a direct result of their work in Phuket, the island province is the only officially canine rabies-free province in the country.
Earlier this year, Soi Dog embarked on the daunting task of sterilising and vaccinating in the Bangkok metropolitan area, home to over 640,000 free roaming dogs. Three mobile teams are currently operating in tandem, and will move systematically from khet to khet around the city until a minimum of 80 per cent of the strays have been sterilised. Further teams will be added as resources become available. The target is to sterilise over 100,000 animals per year. The programme is expected to take between seven to 10 years to complete, and is being part-funded by Dogs Trust, the UK-based animal welfare charity.