Soi Dog Foundation has just surpassed the significant milestone of having neutered and vaccinated over 750,000 stray dogs and cats in Thailand and is well on its way to reaching a million animals before 2024.
The foundation’s CNVR (Catch, Neuter, Vaccinate, Return) programme began in Phuket in 2003. After almost two decades of work – and with the support of their generous donors worldwide – it has grown to become the largest programme of its kind anywhere in the world.
The main focus of Soi Dog’s mobile programme is in Greater Bangkok and the Southern regions, though they also support projects in more than 16 provinces around the country, including Kanchanaburi, Chonburi, Chiang Mai, and Songkhla.
As of now, 652,535 dogs and 109,507 cats have passed through the programme, preventing the births of millions of unwanted puppies and kittens. Late last year, the foundation announced its collaboration with Animal Rescue Cambodia (ARC) in Phnom Penh – their first animal sterilisation project outside of Thailand – to further their effectiveness in controlling the stray dog population in Southeast Asia.
However, the significant numbers achieved come mainly from the work of Soi Dog’s 12 mobile clinics in Greater Bangkok and the Southern provinces, with each team neutering and vaccinating between 40 and 45 animals a day. Soi Dog’s work in the capital city has been widely recognised and, in July, they had the opportunity to showcase it to the governor of Bangkok, Mr. Chadchart Sittipunt, who has pledged stray animal population management as part of his “214 plans to improve Bangkok”.
At a meeting with the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) and relevant NGOs to discuss ways to improve dog welfare in Bangkok, Soi Dog’s CNVR Director Dr. Tuntikorn Rungpattana shared the foundation’s experience of operating sterilisation projects in Bangkok as well as the results of a survey of local attitudes towards stray dogs as a demonstration of its success. The governor and his team agree with the concept of sterilisation as the most viable method of stray animal population management and will continue to work with Soi Dog to develop their own approach to the city’s control programme.
With no government funding, Soi Dog’s work is solely dependent upon donations from individuals and grant-funding organisations with similar aims and a passion to improve animal welfare in Asia. For their CNVR project in Thailand’s capital city, Soi Dog has been partnering with Dogs Trust Worldwide, a branch of Dogs Trust – the largest dog welfare charity in the UK. Dogs Trust Worldwide provides 50% of the operating costs which enables the team to neuter and vaccinate 8,000 animals each month. Over 400,000 animals have had been neutered and vaccinated in the Bangkok metropolitan area already, and crucial routine maintenance initiatives have contributed to the ongoing effectiveness of the programme.
According to a recent survey of locals’ attitudes in Bangkok by specialists from the International Companion Animal Management Coalition (ICAM), sterilisation not only dramatically improves the health of stray dogs but also enhances the relationship between stray animals and human communities. The survey found that people who live in areas where Soi Dog has been running sterilisation projects reported a decrease in problems caused by dogs over time. The opposite answer came from people from areas where Soi Dog has not yet taken its programme.
“We also notice visible signs of ownership or care, including wearing a collar, or people interacting closely with a dog, such as playing or feeding. Some of these may not convey legal ownership but do indicate that people are more likely to care for dogs better,” said Dr. Tuntikorn.
From the Southern Thai province of Phuket to their first overseas project in Cambodia, for 19 years Soi Dog has demonstrated that CNVR is the only humane and sustainable way to manage the overpopulation of stray animals. The foundation will continue to run its CNVR project, with a million sterilisations on the horizon.
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