Just a few years ago Phuket
had a large population of stray dogs and cats which were diseased
and sick. These unfortunate animals either roamed the beaches and
local villages or were abandoned at one of the many Buddhist temples
on the island.
At the same time at a temples, Western women could be seen providing
food and medicine to the dogs which were neglected. It was very
much an individual effort but in 1996, these women got together
with a local vet and several Thai and foreign volunteers and launched
Phuket Animal Support which today is an island wide effort to reduce
the population of unwanted dogs and cats as well as provide food
and medicine for strays.
In January 1999, an Australian veterinarian, Alison Montgomery,
arrived on Phuket
for part of her honeymoon. But shortly after her arrival, she dreamed
she would stay and set up a veterinary practice to help with island’s
deserted dogs and cats.
"I was on my way to England to work but the need for
veterinary care on Phuket was just overwhelming. I felt my mission
was to stay here and help set up a mobile veterinary unit which
could provide vaccinations and sterilization," explained Alison.
Since starting work on the fourth day of her honeymoon, Alison has
visited and accessed the needs for dogs and cats at 15 of the island
"We now have 25 volunteers who care for the animals around
the island every week. We inject for rabies, which to date there
have no cases on Phuket, for distemper and mange," continued
Alison. "We’ve had great support from several of the Thai veterinarians
on Phuket who have either given their services or provided vaccines
Phuket Animal Support was renamed to Phuket Animal Welfare Society
in early 2000 and a new committee and constitution were formed to
take all activities to a higher level.
" With the support from WSPA we were able to buy a pick-up
truck recently which we have now turned into a basic mobile veterinary
vehicle which can continually cover Phuket providing necessary medical
treatments" smiles Alison.
"We’ve sterilized more than 2200 dogs and 850 cats in the
past two years. This is the preferred method to controlling the
animal population compared to the local practice of poisoning dogs
that are unwanted," states Alison. New legislation that strictly
forbids any poisoning in Phuket has recently been passed on to the
local representatives of the governments called "Pu Jai Baan"
or village heads, and we are very happy that finally the stray animals
have received their own animal rights."
Alison will be leaving Phuket for a similar project in Bali/Indonesia
in May 2000 and hopes to see her efforts to make a difference being
continued by other volunteer vets.
For those wanting to assist Phuket Animal Welfare Society in their
worthwhile work, a bank account has been set up at Siam Commercial
Bank, Chao Fa Branch for donations and membership fees. Click
here for all detailed information. Volunteer vets are welcome
to come and join PAWS for any length of stay and can contact the
PAWS office by phone and email.