Earlier this year, Theprachen Srisoda, 36, was charged by police after hacking off the two lower front legs of a neighbour’s puppy with a sword because it had chewed one of his shoes left outside his house. Due to a huge public outcry in the Thai press, and increased pressure via a petition organised by Soi Dog which was signed by over 96,000 supporters from Thailand and abroad, the perpetrator was sentenced to one month detention by the court under the new Animal Welfare Law.
Having been rescued by the Bangkok branch of Soi Dog Foundation, the puppy Cola underwent lifesaving treatment at the Rama V branch of the Bangkok i-clinic. The treatment costs ran into many thousands of baht and Soi Dog is happy to report that his recovery was such that he was suitable for having prosthetics fitted so that he can walk again. Head vet Dr Aom, who also holds an engineering degree, manufactured made-to-measure artificial legs for the young dog.
Last week Soi Dog Foundation co-founder Gill Dalley, flew to Bangkok and returned with Cola to Phuket to continue his recuperation and rehabilitation. Gill is herself a double amputee as a result of a rare soil-based, gram-negative bacteria that she picked up whilst saving a tranquilised dog in 2004, and as such has built up a special bond with Cola.
Gill describes Cola as a perfect dog, intelligent and extremely friendly to everybody he meets. Gill is now teaching Cola to walk again, something she is very familiar with herself, and can regularly be seen walking him on Layan Beach. Even when not wearing his new legs Cola has managed to teach himself to walk on his back legs only holding his front stumps in front of him, kangaroo style.
Offers to give Cola a permanent home in the United States have flooded in but it looks like Cola may just have found a home right here in Phuket.
In a modern society there is no place or justification for cruelty, and research has shown that those who are cruel to animals frequently exhibit the same tendencies to humans. Thailand now has new animal welfare laws which make cruelty to animals illegal. The maximum penalty that can be imposed under the Animal Welfare Law is a two-year custodial prison sentence and/or a B40,000 fine. The Thai judicial system needs to demonstrate that extreme cruelty to animals will not be tolerated, and start handing out sentences that fit the crime. Hopefully the one-month custodial sentence meted out to the perpetrator of this crime on a defenseless puppy will be the first example of a hardening of attitude and stiffer sentences being handed down by the courts against this type of offence in the future.
Soi Dog Foundation’s 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. For more information visit: www.soidog.org or www.facebook.com/SoiDogPageInEnglish.