And why and how you should help
Khun Aung is the very capable and focused Project Manager at the PAT (People and Animals Thailand) Clinic, which is situated just off Phetkasem Road north of Hua Hin, before you reach Cha-am. It is an initiative of the Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand, WFFT, and works in collaboration with Dogs Trust, a British animal welfare charity and humane society. The PAT clinic has 8 full-time staff including Khun Aung, Bow the receptionist, a cleaner who takes care of keeping a clean, safe and sterile environment, 2 trained animal catchers, 1 veterinarian and 2 vet nurses. Khun Aung is herself a qualified vet, but only takes on surgical duties if time is in short supply at the end of a gruelling day.
The entire operation is totally professional and structured with animal welfare as its absolute priority. The second priority seems to be to wring every baht of value out of the shoestring budget that Khun Aung has to work with. Any financial contribution to the Clinic is most gratefully received and donors can be assured that nothing is wasted.
Officially re-opened for less than a month after a hiatus due to the pandemic, the clinic is re-establishing its links with the local communities and villages, formulating its comprehensive annual plan and working tirelessly to systematically reduce the suffering of street animals through a carefully planned and executed program of sterilization and vaccination. The team is working methodically through targeted geographic areas, focusing on villages with the highest number of street dogs.
Initially, each area is surveyed, with comprehensive data collected on dog and cat numbers and number of puppies, kittens and lactating females. Clinic staff reach out to the village chief with information and use leaflets and local radio to inform villagers about how the project will work with them to improve the lives of local dogs and cats through the elimination of suffering. At the appointed time, up to a dozen dogs and cats will be collected early morning, sterilized and vaccinated, ear notched for identification, monitored post-surgery and then later the same evening returned to their usual haunts. Khun Aung reports very positive results already in the village of Nong Khang, with great assistance from its chief, Khun Anuckh Cha, a very helpful and forward-thinking gentleman.
Khun Aung and the team are taking great care that in each area, over the time they allocate to that particular village, they catch, sterilize and release the vast majority of the street dog and cat population, using follow-up action to ensure no animal is missed if at all possible. This is because data from the Livestock Development Department predicts numbers of over 5 million street dogs in 20 years-time, if nothing is done now.
So, why should you become involved?
Street dogs and cats may harbour diseases that are transmissible to humans, chief among them rabies. Many expat residents and tourist complain of being harassed in the street by soi dogs, or even worse, bitten and then having to pay for a painful course of rabies vaccine. Soi dogs are hungry, that can make them hangry, just like a person. The answer to the problem is simple: reduce the numbers of puppies being born, reduce the risk to people.
Instead of complaining about the problem, why not decide to be part of the solution?
Khun Aung and the dedicated staff at the PAT clinic don’t ask for much, but they do have a wishlist of things that would help their work enormously. I won’t bore you with the full list here, you can obtain it from Khun Aung by contacting the clinic direct by phone or email. But here is a short sample of things you could choose to donate: treats, to aid in the capture process, old sheets and towels to use in the surgery to move tranquilized animals and to cover animal cages to make them feel warm and secure in the airconditioned surgery environment. You might be able to donate worming tablets, flea and tick prevention such as Spot On or Bravecto or other animal medication, or source them at prices better than can be obtained in Thailand and bring them in your suitcase on your next trip. Examination gloves, cotton swabs, plasters and bandages, Dettol and even old newspapers are also in high demand, and accepted most gratefully. How much time, effort and money you are able to give to this wonderful cause is completely up to you, but every little bit makes a difference to not only the animals cared for, but also the safety and well-being of the entire local community.
Surely you can find a way to offer your support?
PAT Clinic: 788/1-2 Phetkasem Road, Tambon Cha-Am, Amphoe Cha-am, Thailand, Phetchaburi
Phone: 099 929 2530
Author: Felicitee Lawrie
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