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Dogs escape the butcher but hundreds die in shelter

Posted by arnon_k On April - 23 - 2012

More than 700 dogs, rescued from being smuggled out of Thailand for butchering, have died as thousands of others struggle to survive in overcrowded shelters in Buri Ram and Nakhon Phanom.

The matter came to light after the latest seizure of about 550 dogs from a dog smuggling gang in Mukdahan’s Wan Yai and Muang districts on Saturday. The dogs were being moved from a house near the Mekong River to the pier.

Authorities originally planned to move the seized dogs to animal quarantine offices in Buri Ram and Nakhon Phanom, but officials there said they could not receive the dogs due to congested conditions at the shelters.

The Livestock Development Department has decided to transport them to the animal quarantine in Ubon Ratchathani’s Khemarat district.

Buri Ram animal quarantine head Phaisan Phatthanadechakun yesterday said the shelter had been taking care of about 1,100 seized dogs. He said receiving more dogs would only worsen the overcrowding.

At least 700 seized dogs transferred to his animal quarantine unit had died since last August, he said.

He insisted the authorities had tried their best to take care of the dogs, which were vaccinated and provided with good-quality food. However, some give up eating and continued to die, probably due to the hot weather, he said.

Now, at least one dead dog has to be taken out of Buri Ram animal quarantine every day, Mr Phaisan said.

Some died of illness and starvation as they cannot eat dry pet food.

Quarantine staff are now feeding the remaining dogs rice mixed with chicken ribs in a bid to bolster their appetites, Mr Phaisan said.

Though the shelter is considered too small to take care of its large number of dogs, officials have tried to make it comfortable for them by installing fans and providing them with water basins “to keep them relaxed”, he said.

Only 100 of them have been adopted by people so far.

The Nakhon Phanom livestock office also refused to accept the dogs confiscated in Saturday’s crackdown as its animal quarantine facility was already extremely crowded.

Despite its maximum capacity of 800, the quarantine centre was now taking care of 1,160 dogs seized from previous crackdowns, Nakhon Phanom livestock office chief Phairach Prathumsuwan said.

With such a high population, the shelter was facing problems meeting the rising costs of caring for the animals.

Meanwhile, Muen Jongboriboon, an official at an animal quarantine in Ubon Ratchathani’s Khemarat district, yesterday reported that about 60 dogs seized in Mukdahan and transported to the shelter on Saturday had died.

Some dogs were seriously ill and had been treated in special quarters, he said.

Mr Muen asked people to donate food or money to the office as they did not have the funds to take care of the dogs. Donations can be made through the Livestock Development Department’s Bank of Ayudhya account number 0441-092-282.

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