Those who have visited Bangkok cannot fail to have noticed the sad cases of stray cats and dogs that live wild, roaming the city streets. One of the few non-profit organizations working to help stray animals on the streets of Bangkok is SCAD, Soi Cats and Dogs – Soi meaning “street”.
Unfortunately the overwhelming scale of the problem means that the ideal solution of rescuing and finding homes for stray animals is totally impractical here. Instead SCAD’s aims are to reduce the future numbers of the animal population and improve the lives of the remaining animals through a sterilization and vaccination program.
It sounds simple, but first there are local cultural prejudices which must be overcome. The animals, although living on the streets, are often considered pets by the community and are usually fed to some degree by the locals. Secondly, the Thais are fearful that anyone turning up with a cage and collecting strays may be unscrupulous dog traders who sell the animals to the meat trade.
As SCAD prepares to work in a new undeveloped area, they must first address these concerns by educating the community about their work. Their first task is to send in a community manager to spread the word about how to be responsible pet owners. They teach the benefits of animal birth control, which reduces the future population of animals surviving on the streets. It also gives the animals a better chance of a healthy life themselves, without constantly giving birth to litters of young puppies and kittens. Getting the locals educated and supportive is the first step in allowing the work to begin.
Once the locals know that the animals will be returned a few days later, after being given shelter, vaccinations and medical care, they are happy to help in rounding up strays. Back at SCAD the dogs and cats are cleaned, examined and given any required vaccinations including antibiotics, rabies injections, supplements and where necessary, the animals are also neutered. While in SCAD’s care they are fed, exercised and played with. If new homes are not forthcoming, they are given a new red collar, showing they have had their SCAD checkup, and are then returned to the community and hopefully to a better quality of life on the streets of Bangkok.
This worthy cause depends heavily upon volunteers and a handful of professional staff. For those wanting to help, rather than feeding stray animals enabling them to breed and reproduce large litters which perpetuates the problem, there are many other ways to make a worthwhile contribution to this sad problem.
One way is by adopting a pet through a reputable pet adoption scheme such as www.petfinder.com. SCAD works with Petfinder internationally, allowing those in the USA, Canada and Europe to adopt a dog or cat from SCAD.
Another way is to sponsor an animal that is currently under the care of SCAD is using their Muttketeer Sponsorship Package. Under this program you can follow the progress of a cat or dog of your choosing. Although costs are considerably lower in Thailand, and a little goes a long way, it is still costly to give even a limited service to these needy animals. SCAD relies totally upon donations and sponsorship programs, which in the long-term can help far more then just one lucky pet.
For those who live or are visiting Bangkok and can lend their expertise or time to this worthwhile cause is warmly welcomed. Any help in any form is much appreciated by the SCAD team and their furry friends.
UPDATE: Bringing Pets to Thailand
Bangkok blogger Talen has written a great article outlining the requirements for bringing your pet into Thailand.