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Soi Dog Foundation, the Phuket-based street dog and cat welfare organisation responsible for fighting the Asian dog meat trade, has won the “People’s Choice” award at the inaugural British Charity Film Awards in London.
The short film entitled Love Will Always Triumph Over Evil tells the true story of a pup called Cola from Bangkok whose front legs were hacked off by a sword by an angry neighbour, because Cola had chewed his shoes.
The pup was saved by Soi Dog who paid for emergency medical treatment and fitting of prosthetic legs, before bringing him to Phuket, where he was adopted by co-founder of Soi Dog, Gill Dalley, herself a double amputee.
The British Charity Film Awards, held last Wednesday (Mar 15), celebrate the charity sector’s use of film, whether for awareness building, changing attitudes and behaviours, or for fund raising.
Over 375 charities entered the awards, with just 36 actually making it through to the finals. Soi Dog’s “People’s Choice” award was voted for by members of the public. Over 65,000 people voted, with Soi Dog collecting just over 30,000 votes.
John Dalley, co-founder and President of Soi Dog Foundation said, “We are very grateful to all those who voted for us. It helps to bring knowledge of our work to a wider audience, and highlights the plight of many homeless dogs and cats in this part of the world, as well as the cruel and horrific dog meat trade in Asia that we are trying to end.
“It is also more than a fitting tribute to Gill, who passed away last month, with the film demonstrating her pure compassion for animals who otherwise would have no-one else to help them. Gill would have been particularly happy at winning the People’s Choice awards. She was a woman of the people”.
Gill Dalley passed away last month following a brief battle with cancer (see story here). As a double leg amputee herself, Gill had formed an instant bond with Cola, understanding the issues he was going through in adjusting to life with prosthetic legs.
The two became inseparable in the few months following Cola’s adoption by the couple. Cola is now being looked after by John at the family house in Phuket, along with numerous other street dogs and cats that the couple had adopted over the years.
This is the first time a Thai-based organisation has received a charity award in the United Kingdom, and highlights the great efforts of all Asian-based not-for-profit organisations in making a sustainable difference to the lives of people, animals and the environment.
“Thailand should be very proud of this award. It demonstrates how far the country has come in terms of improving the welfare of its animals,” Mr Dalley said.
“We are eternally grateful to the Thai people for all their support and assistance in improving the lives of street dogs and cats, and in ending the dog meat trade here”.
The Soi Dog Foundation short film on Cola and Gill was surprisingly made on a zero budget, in stark contrast to professionally made films entered by other charities that had production budgets in some cases exceeding US$100,000 (about B3.47 million).
“Our supporters don’t want us to spend their money on initiatives that do not directly impact on the welfare of the dogs and cats here., We spend 92% of all donations directly on the animal welfare programmes we run on behalf of our supporters,” Mr Dalley explained.
Soi Dog Foundation lead UK volunteers Donna Freelove and Suzanne Woodhead were on hand at the ceremony to collect the award, which will be dedicated to the memory and legacy of Gill Dalley.
Other winners at the British Charity Awards ceremony included St John’s Ambulance, Alzheimer’s Society, Royal Trinity Hospice, The National Holocaust Centre and Museum, Support and Love Via Education International, The Loss Foundation, Communities for Development, and The Restorative Justice Council with Fully Focussed Productions.