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The campaign is designed to prevent further unwanted dogs being born, eliminate rabies, create a smaller, healthier and more sustainable population of dogs, and improve the environment for both animals and humans, the foundation announced.
“The program will target a minimum of 80% of the dog population on the islands, estimated to be around 10,000 animals, and will take a minimum of nine months to complete,” said the release, noting that 80% is the figure when a significant reduction in the population will be achieved, and that 70% will see elimination of rabies.
All funding will come directly from Soi Dog Foundation, which earlier this week mobilised a core team of two veterinarians, three vet nurses, four dog catchers and a manager.
The team will target sterilising and vaccinating around 50 dogs per day, and will work systematically through each island, starting in Wat Bo Phuttharam in Samui. The Samui program will cover seven districts and 39 villages.
John Dalley, president and co-founder of the Phuket-based foundation – which is Asia’s largest animal welfare organisation specialising in the welfare of street dogs and cats – said, “We had received a number of requests from people based in Samui over the years asking for us to conduct a mass sterilisation and vaccination program there.
“Up until now we simply did not have the resources to help out. Sterilisation and vaccination remains the only known sustainable and ethical way to reduce stray populations over time, and it is at the very heart of Soi Dog.
“Given time and resources, we intend to carry out such programs right around Thailand, which is home to over eight million street dogs alone. This alone indicates the nature of the challenge we are facing”.
Since Soi Dog Foundation started sterilising and vaccinating street dogs and cats in Phuket back in 2003, the organisation has now achieved over 165,000 sterilisation operations, mainly in Phuket, Khao Lak, Phang Nga and in Bangkok.
As a direct result of their work in Phuket, the island province is the only officially canine rabies-free province in the country, SDF confirmed.
Earlier this year, Soi Dog embarked on the daunting task of sterilising and vaccinating in the Bangkok metropolitan area, home to over 640,000 free roaming dogs.
“Three mobile teams are currently operating in tandem, and will move systematically from khet to khet [neighbourhood to neighbourhood] around the city until a minimum of 80% of the strays have been sterilised,” the foundation revealed today.
“Further teams will be added as resources become available. The target is to sterilise over 100,000 animals per year. The program is expected to take between seven to 10 years to complete, and is being part-funded by Dogs Trust, the UK-based animal welfare charity,” it added.
Soi Dog Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation established in 2003, is a legally registered charity in Thailand, Canada, the United States, Australia, the UK, France and Holland. Its mission statement is to improve the welfare of dogs and cats in Asia, resulting in better lives for both the animal and human communities, to create a society without homeless animals, and to ultimately end animal cruelty.