Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Yes, but not for dogs or cats! Koh Samui is a tropical island in the South of Thailand, approx 25 km across with many beautiful beaches, thousands of coconut palms, 25,000 inhabitants and several hundred bungalow resorts and hotels. There are also hundreds of stray dogs( stray dog means in Thai SOI DOG - SOI means steet) begging for food on the beaches and in the streets. Most of the SOI dogs live in small packs and remain within their territory. This territory is defended by the whole pack and it is very hard for new dogs to join a pack.

Until April 1999 there was no vet on the island and medical treatment for animals was impossible. Countless sick or injured dogs (SOI DOGS) and cats (SOI CATS) died wretchedly and were completely ignored at the roadside. Even small bite wounds proved lethal in the tropics because the flies deposit their eggs in the cuts; the resulting maggots eat their way deeper and deeper into the animal. All it takes is a thorough cleansing and some powder and even large injuries infected with hundreds of maggots can heal quickly.

Dogs have puppies twice a year. Mongrels are particularly fecund and litters with ten puppies are not uncommon. If only five out of ten puppies survive, that amounts to 10,000 living pups per year from 1,000 bitches. As the animal population grew on the island, the government carried out mass poisonings and the dog problem was solved for a time. For the tourists who had to witness this, their holidays were spoiled. Also dogs with owners had two litters a year and the Thai people, not knowing how to deal with puppies, took them to the temple. There, the dogs were fed by the monks with some rice and other leftovers but, if there were too many, the government also poisoned these dogs. As the majority of the Thai population is very poor, and the only vet at that time was on the mainland, traveling there with a dog was not feasible. The average salary is about 5 Euro a day; the price for a castration is about 30 Euro.

When we started helping the dogs on Koh Samui, there wasn't much of a cat problem as dogs eat cats (sad but true). As our work with the dogs progressed and their numbers fell, and the cat population grew. As a result, we had to address the cat problem so we started to neuter and look after the cats on the Island and this work continues still.........

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