By Julia Szabo for Dogster Magazine
At the end of July, fans of the Animal Activists Alliance Thailand were overjoyed to read the breaking news that more than 1,200 Thai dogs had been rescued from international dog meat smugglers. The animals had been intercepted in two separate raids as they were en route to their doom.
One convoy containing around 800 dogs was discovered late one night; those terrified canines had been kept in the jungle for several days without any food or water. They were very weak; many of them were wearing collars, indicating they had recently been pets.
More from Dogster Magazine: The Story of Kabang, the Dog Who Lost Her Snout Saving Two Girls in the Philippines
The rescue was accomplished by the Royal Thai Police and the Royal Thai Navy Border Patrol, with support from members of Animal Activists Alliance Thailand. The smugglers were arrested in the Ban Phang district of Nakorn Phanom Province.
The only viable option for the rescue team was to transport the dogs to shelter facilities in Nakhom Phanom, but the province’s governor said there were no funds to feed and care for the dogs. To the rescue came Soi Dog Foundation, an international nonprofit that has committed to covering the immediate cost of the dogs’ care. The charity (Soi is Thai for “street,” as in “street dog”) teamed up with Animal Activists Alliance Thailand to supply 12 tons of dog food, as well as veterinary care.
The canine survivors are now safe from dog-meat smugglers and starvation, but there’s still the very real danger of distemper and parvovirus to contend with. So all 1,200 dogs must be vaccinated, each one requiring a course of three vaccines, to prevent outbreaks of these highly contagious diseases (which have, sadly, killed many other dogs rescued from smugglers in the past).
“The lives of these dogs are at immediate risk,” says John Dalley, Soi Dog’s executive director. “Unless they are vaccinated soon, disease epidemics will break out and most will perish. The ongoing cost of caring for the dogs will be over 500,000 Thai baht per month.”
The value of these dogs alone in the Vietnam restaurant trade is well over 3 million Thai baht, or $95,000. “The smugglers are losing a lot of money, but we need to raise a lot to be able to help these dogs and others who may well join them in coming weeks,” Dalley adds.
You can do your part to help these dogs and prevent the birth of thousands of unwanted animals through Soi Dog’s vital spay-neuter mission, by making donations or sponsoring animals through its site.
Is there hope of putting an end to the cruel trade in dog meat, which is happening even as you read this? Dalley says there is: “We can save the rescued dogs and stop the dog meat trade altogether. The sheer numbers of dogs that are going to need somewhere to go will bring matters to a head very soon, thereby prompting the government to take action to stop the trade at its source.”
About the Author: Julia Szabo is a writer for Dogster Magazine.