Phuket Straydog Shelter in Bang Khanun Forest Park, Thalang, under the Phuket Provincial and Provincial Administration Organization, has been established since 2003 and is set on 4 Rai of land to take care of over 800 stray dogs.
Phuketindex had a chance to sit with Khun Tawan Chotiwaranon, the manager of the shelter, to talk about the stray dog situation in Phuket.
Please introduce yourself
Hello, my name is Tawan Chotiwaranon, the manager of Phuket Straydog Shelter, Bang Khanun Forest Park.
What work experience did you have before Phuket Straydog Shelter?
I was working as a tutor when I heard about this position. As the hours didn’t encroach on my tutoring job I decided to take it.
What inspired you to work for Phuket Straydog Shelter?
My ideal job is to try to be a benefit to society. This is what I’ve been looking for, so I just grabbed at the chance.
Why are the dogs here, and what do you do with them?
Once any complaints about dogs or cats being annoying, or biting people have been reported through the Phuket Administrative Organization, an officer will be sent out to investigate and if necessary to bring those animals back to sterilize, vaccinate and later deliver them to this shelter.
We keep the new dogs in the primary kennel for a month to complete the treatments and vaccination, then let them in with other dogs in the large kennel.
In which way you want this Shelter to affect society?
In my opinion, the shelter is not the final answer. You can see from the increasing number of stray dogs, even enlarging the shelter would not solve the problem.
Start from the beginning by building up the consciousness of pet owners, in terms of responsibility, whether by teaching good care or providing good welfare such as food, housing or medical treatment. This is the best solution.
When people are thinking about getting a dog, please be clear about its typical behavior. For example, a ‘Bangkaew’ dog means a single-owner dog which is fiercely loyal but aggressive towards others. So once it comes to the shelter, it takes a long time to get along with the staff. Pit Bulls or German Shepherds are fighting dogs and it’s very hard for them to join in with other dogs here.
With the restrictions of the area, budget and labour, even though we have volunteers and some support from the Soi Dog Foundation we still cannot take maximum care for these animals. But anyway, we try our best.
What are the problems and obstacles?
The major problem is the lack of manpower. The standard ratio of dogs compared with the staff members should be 100 dogs per staff, but we have 813 dogs with only five staff, so this is quite a heavy job for us.
Anyway, the Administrative Organization is aware of this situation and has raised the budget to help support all these expenses.
What can we do to contribute to the Phuket Straydog shelter?
First of all, I would like to thank everyone for helping by donating food and money for the shelter. Almost 100% of the food here is from donations. For our 813 dogs, we need about 220kg per day which cost around 5,000-6,000 baht.
Donations can be made directly here or at the Department of Livestock Development (next to the Social Insurance Office). What is needed is food, cleaning implements, wound-dressing equipment, also drinking water for the volunteers.
We are now using the EM system in the cleaning process instead of chemicals, therefore, molasses or EM seeds are pretty much needed. Also, funds can be donated directly to The Shelter’s bank account, the details are on our Facebook page.
Or if you want to be a volunteer for the cleaning and feeding here, it would be more than appreciated.
Lastly, for anyone who’s thinking to have a dog, you are welcome to get them here instead of buying. The adult dog has the same IQ as a seven-year old child with its own character, so you can choose one which suits you.
The dogs here are lacking of love. If you take care of them with love and warmth, you will get more love and loyalty back, since they have thoughts and feelings like people.
I have heard many stories about some dogs that grieved to death here while waiting for their owner to bring them back home. I’ll write those down on the FB page soon.
Finally, these stray dogs and cats are the cause of rabies. This is a big problem that all of us need recognise and help to solve.