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PAWS: Phuket Animal Welfare Society

 Phuket Animal Welfare Society - Historic Overview

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 temples.

"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 at cost."

 

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.

 
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