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The bloody crime scene from the ruthless movie by Quentin Tarantino floods my thoughts as I take my early morning runs now around the Samui Water Reservoir. Like the characters confused by who is the true culprit in the cult crime film, I too wonder who is responsible for the bloodbath that is happening here. Even more, I contemplate how many floating and putrefying dogs it will take to poison our water reservoir.
The reservoir is found in the south of Koh Samui near Wat Sumret. It offers for many a recreational area amid the jungles of tourism that surround the island. Runners, such as myself, and cyclists encircle the inner island manmade facility while a football stadium and basketball court allow for some more competitive daily fun.
Quite often on my journey I am accompanied by a silent partner who joins me in my exuberant race against the wind. He’s a big brown jolly ol’ dog, and like myself enjoys the exercise on this otherwise island of rest and relaxation. Leaving his lethargic friends behind lazing in the morning sun, he and I are off on what has become a regular rendezvous. It was a few days ago that he had not joined me and my muscles cramped at the thought that he may have met his demise through some evil act. I ran on in carrying the hope that this could never happen again.
It was only last November that a mass poisoning at this very lake took place. Plastic bags filled with a potent mixture of BBQ pork and the ever-so-common blue rat poison became the last meal for a gang of 20 or so stray and owned dogs hanging out at the water reservoir. It was both a sad and a maddening moment when I heard about the event. Only months previously the Samui Dog Rescue Centre, accompanied by yours truly, had volunteered time and funding to vaccinate, deworm and sterilize all of the stray dogs found in this area to keep the populations down, and to keep the tourists and inhabitants of the area safe. Then in some ignorant effort, the cruel and painful death of poison seemed the better path for someone on this island where Buddhism prevails.
Where does all of this water go? To which hotels and hostels and bungalows are these pipes of liquid puppy leading to? While tourists and neighbours brush their teeth are particles of poisoned pooch invading their bodies? If only they knew.
As I ran my solo rounds without my brown partner again this morning I caught a whiff of that all-too-familiar smell and I stopped in my tracks. Following the incessant scent it pulled me towards the scene of a dead dog lying on his back. Numbness crept over me. His legs were tied with a cable. Hope fell out of me and swirled with the pungent vapours. I knew I had lost my jolly ol’ dog to the water reservoir.
I began to ask about regarding the loss I was suffering, and to inquire into the dead dog lying near the lake. I was informed that this was an act that occurred in a regular cycle and had been going on for years. Every 3-4 months the dogs were ‘cleared’ from this area and unwanted puppies were bagged and dropped into the waters of the lake. Drowning in the water we cook with, bathe in and wash the daily grime from our skin. My queries raised more answers than I can bear.
My brown runner had been seen near the reservoir, most likely poisoned. The man I spoke to said he had buried him where he lay. Other dogs had been seen poisoned and laying in their vomit, bodies curled in agony at their moment of death. People tossed them into the reservoir to rid the public of their rotting corpses.
10 years of this had been circulating in our water systems. 10 years of poisoned dogs. 10 years of more than 100 dogs per year have been cleared off of the paths and trails I run and tossed into the waters of the reservoir to decay and disappear.
How many dead dogs does it take before someone realizes where this water is going?
Do people know that our reservoir is filled with dead dogs?
How many dead dogs does it take?
How many dead dogs does it take to poison a lake?
– Whirling Dervish