By SPCA International staff
For close to two years, SPCA International has been involved in the welfare of the animals at a remote Buddhist Temple in Thailand about 45 minutes outside Bangkok’s city center.
After the big flooding in 2011, our team discovered this shocking “sanctuary” for animals, which was dubbed “Dog Condo” by locals. Inside this cesspool of feces and urine infected water and barely visible land, we found close to 1600 dogs and cats being looked after by only two women. Many were in cages, never leaving their perimeters for their entire lives and others who were found lucky to be roaming within the compound were often starving or disease ridden. During our first visit to Dog Condo, we learned that close to 300 dogs had drowned in the flood because they were not able to seek higher land. Many were found with their bellies split open in attempts to scale the high cement walls desperately searching for safety.
Dog Condo is hell for animals. Anyone who has been capable of setting foot through the rusted wired doors will attest to this. If a cat or dog is left at the site, the likelihood of them leaving is slim to none. No person has ever attempted to do anything major about the state of the facility because up until SPCAI stepped in, there was never a long-term solution that seemed viable.
In 2012, we worked with local architects to design and build septic tanks throughout the premises so water can steadily drain. On separate visits with volunteers from across North America, we built catteries, fixed cages, repaired the water system to clean the floors, bought and built feeding stations and made sure that no animal would go hungry. We even accomplished the greatest feat by developing a trusting relationship with the caretakers who allowed us to remove and seek veterinary help for some the animals were in very bad shape. Some of them have even made their way to the U.S. and have found loving homes.
Since our last visit, we maintained a very strong bond with a local animal activist by the name of Soot Liang Woo. Countless conversations and trips to Dog Condo all resulted in the same conclusion: more work needed to be done. Our savvy and determined correspondent alerted Thailand Livestock Department about the situation and one early day in December, eight mobile spay and neuter teams arrived and began sterilizing each animal at Dog Condo. The event even generated awareness in the community, and many locals began bringing their own pets in to be sterilized. The hard to reach ones were darted by a licensed wildlife official. Many of the sick animals were taken and are still being treated for a very contagious venereal disease that runs rampant amongst stray dogs in Thailand. They have been put into a separate newly built clinic that Soot Liang Woo and her hired team of carpenters constructed for the 6-week duration of their treatment. Soot has also taken it upon herself to visit the facility almost daily to oversee other projects like cementing a new floor (which quickly became a paw marking ground for some of the wanderers before it dried!) installing double doors and building bridges and platforms for the shy dogs to congregate on in the middle of the marsh land. At the same time, tending to more sick animals including clipping matted fur that causes painful sores. And on top of all this, Soot is facilitating overseas and local adoptions for the cats and dogs of Dog Condo. For more information, please contact us and note that you are inquiring about Dog Condo adoptions.
SPCA International continues ongoing communication with the Temple directly and through Soot Liang Woo, in an effort to find a long lasting solution to improve the conditions for animals at Dog Condo. Late in 2013 our staff received word that the Temple has decided a new facility must be built in order to resolve the many issues plaguing the current facility. The Temple requested help and input from SPCA International staff as they draw up their new plans. We responded with our full support and we are greatly encouraged by this development. We will continue to report on this as we learn more.