After dumping the dog on Sept 19 and driving off, little did he know that his actions were clearly caught on CCTV – or that a member of Soi Dog staff saw what had happened and rescued the dog that was running down the road vainly trying to catch up with his beloved owner, and in danger of being hit by traffic, reported Soi Dog in a release issued yesterday (Oct 21).
As well as being a cruel and despicable act, abandoning a dog is also illegal in Thailand. Tha Chatchai Police later tracked down ‘Mr.R’, an Irishman who has lived in Phuket for a number of years, and filed charges against him under The Cruelty Prevention and Welfare of Animal Act, the release added.
Pleading guilty, the expat was fined B2,000 by the court and his information and fingerprints recorded into the criminal record system. From now, if he comes to Thailand and requests for a criminal background check, this record will be shown, Soi Dog noted.
Tha Chatchai Police Deputy Superintendent Lt Col Watcharin Jirattikarnpiwat confirmed that ‘Mr.R’ had paid a fine and received a criminal record already.
“One of the main stray dog problems in Thailand is because of a lack of pet owner responsibilities, and we hope that this story serves as an obvious example of legal action that will be taken against the abandoning of pet dogs and cats,” Lt Col Watcharin said.
Lt Col Watcharin also urged the public to report any cases of pet animal abandonment to the police.
“Animal Cruelty Acts might be a new thing for Thais compared with other laws. I am glad that the story will be published, this is not just the duty of the police or of Soi Dog, everyone can step in. Because without society change, law change is useless,” he said.
Asked to comment on the case, John Dalley MBE, President of Soi Dog Foundation International, remarked that although ‘Mr.R’ had written to him two weeks after the event, describing it as a moment of madness, it was noticeable that he never once asked if the dog had been found or if it was safe in the care of Soi Dog. “The CCTV footage clearly shows it as a premeditated act. Had it been a moment of madness then surely he would want to know that the dog was unharmed,” Mr Dalley said.
Regarding the penalty, Mr Dalley remarked that although he felt the fine imposed was derisory, when one considers it costs on average B2,700 per month to keep a dog at the shelter, it was very pleasing that the authorities had acted.
“If people have a genuine reason that they are unable to keep a pet, then we will always try to help. Dumping a dog in a strange environment in heavy rain, driving away and putting its life in danger are not the actions of a concerned owner,” Mr Dalley added.
In early April, when Phuket went into lockdown, Soi Dog issued a special plea for people to not abandon their pets during these ongoing difficult times.
Soi Dog Foundation is located at 167/9 Moo 4, Soi Mai Khao 10, Mai Khao, Thalang, 83110. Shelter hours are Monday-Friday 8am-5pm. To report a sick or injured street dog or cat during these hours, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 076-681-029. However, if you see an animal outside of shelter hours whose life you believe is in danger unless it receives immediate, emergency treatment, call the emergency hotline on 098-927-9698.