While Thailand may be best known for its beautiful temples, beaches, and delicious cuisine, it hides a dark secret.
Throughout the country, millions of stray dogs and cats overwhelm the streets, beaches and temples. The massive number of strays exists for several reasons, with some of the most prominent being:
- Feeding of stray animals - This helps dogs and cats in the short- term, but in the long- term has a negative affect. It helps these animals reproduce much more successfully.
- Limited low-cost spay/neuter opportunities - This means millions of dogs and cats are born as strays each year and communities are not able to regulate stray populations or the spread of disease.
As a result of these high stray animal populations, in busy cities like metropolitan Bangkok, stray dogs fall victim to traffic accidents and injuries. Cats and dogs are also exposed to, and suffer from, infectious diseases - a result of lack of medical care and large stray populations.
One area that is particularly overwhelmed by strays are Thai temples. Locals believe in the misconception that the monks will care for and feed unwanted animals. As a result, many unwanted pets and strays are dumped at temples throughout the country resulting in malnutrition, fighting, and death.
While many animal welfare charities have worked to address the suffering of stray animals on Thailand's islands and in major cities, many areas remain neglected.
One such area is the Malay peninsula in the province of Prachuap Khiri Khan. This large province is home to a diverse landscape including long white sandy beaches and a mountainous terrain; it stretches from the Gulf of Thailand to the border of Burma. The area is home to tens of thousands of stray dogs and cats who suffer from:
- Drowning during monsoon season
- Traffic accidents
- Starvation and malnutrition
- Abandonment at temples
- Limited spay-neuter services
To help address the continued suffering of strays, FOUR PAWS has teamed up with local charity Headrock Dogs Rescue.
Our program involves an outreach team to work with the local community to improve animal welfare in a sustainable way through education and engagement.
In and around the city of Bang Saphan, the outreach team responds to animal emergencies, provides desperately needed medical care, and helps increase pet adoption. The program also pays special attention to stray populations at temples, to help improve the living conditions for the hundreds of dogs and cats that call them home. Temple dogs and cats are enrolled in a feeding, vaccination, and sterilization program, all at no cost to the temple. The outreach team also works closely with temple monks and nuns to empower them to provide better animal care.
Outside of Thai temples, the program sponsors sterilization, treatment, and vaccination services for pet owners who otherwise might not be able to afford medical care for their animals.
For stray animals deemed too sick or debilitated to return to their home communities or temples, our partner, Headrock Dogs Rescue will provide them with ongoing shelter and care until they can hopefully be adopted into a forever home.