TEN animal-rights groups and other animal lovers will rally outside the head offices of the Department of Livestock Development (DLD) in Bangkok at 1pm today to object to DLD officials’ “cold-hearted” slaughter of dogs, Watchdog Thailand legal assistant and veterinarian Pattaranan Sajarom said yesterday.
“We believe the DLD wants to eradicate stray cats and dogs and take the opportunity of rabies zone declarations to round them up and take them away – which is not an appropriate solution for Thai society, so groups have to come out urgently to object to this,” she said.
Pattaranan said she hoped the DLD would stop rounding up animals and enter discussions with animal-rights groups to find other solutions to the rabies issue. The groups would also discuss a plan to petition HM the King on Friday about the DLD’s “over-reaction”, she said.
Pattaranan said many strays that had already been vaccinated were caught and taken to unknown destinations, with many fearing they had already been killed.
The 10 groups are Save Elephant Foundation, SOS Animals Thailand, Hope Thailand, A Call For Animal Rights Thailand, Thai Love Animals, Man That Rescued Dogs, Pac Pattaya, Dog Nation, Soi Dogs Matter and Watchdog Thailand.
The protest came after the recent fatal poisoning of dogs at two temples in Nakhon Si Thammarat’s Thung Song district.
Meanwhile, Siripong Polsiri, acting provincial DLD office chief, and Mesayon Chevasereichon, at the DLD Animal Health Promotion Division, said Nakhon Si Thammarat had rabies outbreaks in seven locations with two in Thung Song, two in Cha-uat and one each in Thung Yai, Chlabhon and Chalerm Phrakiat. Another 23 districts were considered at risk.
The two veterinarians said the operation at the temple was necessary after a dog, which had bitten three people and later died, was confirmed to have rabies and known to mingle with other dogs at the temple.
Siripong also dismissed accusations that the operation was in line with a “set zero” policy to eradicate strays.
Pattaranan said the groups would also send representatives this weekend to file a police complaint over the incidents, in which stray dogs at Wat Khok Sathon School and Wat Khao Pridi were allegedly killed by DLD officials who fed them poisoned food.
Pattaranan said only veterinarians were allowed by law to euthanise animals.
The Facebook page of the SOS Animals Thailand NGO posted about the Thung Song incidents based on a complaint by an unnamed foreigner in the province saying that the dogs, which had been vaccinated against rabies, were killed.
The 10 groups also on Monday issued an urgent plea on the Watchdog Thailand Facebook page for foreigners living in Prachuap Khiri Khan’s Hua Hin district to claim “ownership” of stray dogs being rounded up there to prevent the animals from being euthanised.
They said DLD officials had rounded up stray dogs – most of which were wearing tags to show they had been vaccinated against rabies – in the neighbourhood of a house whose owner died from a cat bite.
They expressed doubt about livestock officials’ claims that the dogs would be kept at a quarantine centre in Phetchaburi and then sent to a government-run animal shelter in Buri Ram. The groups suspected instead that the dogs would be euthanised as per the rabies-control law.
They said Western expatriates who had been feeding the strays should claim to “own” the dogs to save them from being put down.
An official at the Hua Hin DLD Office, speaking on condition of anonymity, warned that legal action would be taken against anyone attempting to obstruct rabies-control efforts.
They could be charged with violating the animal-cruelty act, which prohibits pet owners from releasing their animals on streets, the official said.