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Who's responsible, anyway?

The dog-rescuer is in tears as she talks to me.

Published on November 17, 2007

"I took care of those dogs for years. They lived with the guard in a nearby condo, and he would use his own money to feed them."

Over the years, the dogs had wandered into the condo one by one. The last dog, Number Six, had appeared only a few months ago, a sick puppy that the dog-rescuer had taken to the vet and then kept with her for weeks until it was well enough to move back into the condo.

The dog-rescuer is no fool. She made sure that the condo manager would allow the dogs to stay there. She dropped by three or four times a week to see if the guard needed any help with the dogs.

Then, one day, without warning, the manager paid someone to take the dogs away - he wouldn't tell the dog-rescuer where.

"You had only to tell me one time and I would have found another place for them," the dog-rescuer told him, but the manager remained adamant. He would only say that they were in a wat where the monks loved dogs.

If you believe him, I have a lovely bridge I'd like to sell you.

About the same time, another dog-rescuer received word that the owner of a golf course in the Bangkok suburbs had ordered his guards to round up the dogs on the course and shoot them that night. Through various contacts, she managed to persuade him to grant the dogs a reprieve for a few days while she searched for homes for them. As I write, she's looking for those homes, but it's hard finding places for more than 30 dogs.

Not even is a BMA pound the place for dogs facing a death sentence. Perhaps you're not aware of the conditions there. One woman has sent me a report on the Pravet pound, where conditions are so bad that dogs are left to die from illness and starvation. In one horrible case, dogs, out of sheer hunger, have been forced to eat another dog, although nobody knows if that dog was killed or already dead.

The lady also sent photos she had taken of the conditions at this one pound. She has posted these photos on the Pantip website, and other newspapers have taken up the story.

I doubt that the story will ensure improved conditions at the pound. The government has no will to make a concerted effort to help the dogs. Rumours of corruption fly about, as usual.

When one rescuer takes it upon himself (or herself) to spend their own finances to set up suitable quarters for sick and homeless animals, the new facilities turn into a dumping ground for even more unwanted animals.

Bring dog-lovers and dog-rescuers together, and you're not going to see many results, either. Not only do personalities clash. People are unwilling to make a commitment without ensuring equal distribution of responsibilities and resources.

I could go on, but I think you get the picture. The problem with animals is people.

By Laurie rosenthal 

The Nation

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