The killing of dogs and cats and the consumption of their meat is illegal in Thailand under the Cruelty Prevention and Welfare of Animal Act, B.E. 2557 (2014) – an Act which Soi Dog worked closely with the government to introduce. This successful sentencing under the Act marks a positive step forward for animal welfare in Thailand and demonstrates the foundation’s unwavering commitment to fighting animal cruelty in all its forms.
Concern was first raised in this case by Soi Dog mobile clinic staff stationed in the province who encountered a puppy with a deep laceration to its neck. Local residents led staff to the man, stating that they believed him to be routinely butchering and eating puppies but had been fearful of taking action as he was known to be violent and often under the influence of drugs.
The wounded puppy and its five littermates were transported to the Soi Dog shelter in Phuket for safety and treatment. Meanwhile, the foundation’s dedicated community liaison team filed a report with local Chaloem Phrakiat Police.
Soi Dog’s Community Relations Manager Sakdapol Thongchan and Deputy Inspector of Investigation Police Captain Boonchuea Sangsawat visited the man’s house where they discovered bones, corpses and cooked meat. He was promptly arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty.
Testing at Chulalongkorn University’s Halal Science Center in Bangkok confirmed the cooked meat to be canine, while Soi Dog veterinarians confirmed the bones to be those of a puppy. The man was subsequently charged under Sections 20 and 31 of the Act, which stipulate that “no person shall perform any act which is deemed an act of cruelty to animal without justification” and “any person who contravenes section 20 shall be liable to imprisonment for a term of not exceeding two years or to a fine not exceeding forty-thousand baht or to both”.
The Pak Phanang Provincial Court sentenced the man to six months imprisonment. Upon pleading guilty, that sentence was reduced to three months.
Soi Dog co-founder John Dalley MBE hailed the successful sentencing as a win for animal welfare efforts in Thailand.
“Soi Dog and other organisations worked hard to have this law passed in 2014. But even though it is now the law, many people still do not know about it,” he said. “We must continue to fight for stray animals in need. Such cruelty has absolutely no place in society.”
The foundation also extended its appreciation to the authorities for their swift and efficient handling of the case.
“We appreciate the assistance provided by law enforcement and the various judicial systems,” said Sakdapol. “Ignorance of the law is not a defence, and we want to motivate everyone to take action to stop animal cruelty.”
Soi Dog has been fighting animal cruelty since its founding almost 20 years ago, with a particular focus on the Asian dog and cat meat trade over the past decade. With the help of a number of government and private organisations, the illegal trade in Thailand was effectively stamped out in 2014, the same year the foundation was influential in helping to bring about the country’s first animal welfare law.
The foundation sits on a committee which meets regularly to revise and improve this law in Thailand, and continues to fight for an end to the dog and cat meat trade in other Asian countries.