While tides recede, Bangkok attempts to care for displaced dogs
This post was filed by Shannon Walajtys, International Fund for Animal Welfare Emergency Response officer working with a small team of rescuers on the ground in Thailand.
In the southeastern province of Bang Poo in Thailand, SCAD Bangkok, Elephant Nature Foundation and Kinship Circle have been working tirelessly to care for dogs displaced by the catastrophic flooding throughout Bangkok. Since November, dogs rescued from the flood waters have been housed in the TWP Shelter that is located on surplus factory land donated by the Thai Watana Panich Press Co., Ltd. This shelter currently houses approximately 120 animals with several more arriving daily.
Recently, I arrived at the shelter on behalf of IFAW to provide veterinary care for the animals onsite as well as guidance for the overall sheltering operation. Many of the animals were in need of physical examinations and medical treatments for aliments including severe mange, blood-borne parasites, transmissible venereal tumors, wounds and fractures.
Infectious disease control is a major issue for the shelter that I have been trying to remedy by instituting cleaning and medical protocols. Facility design is also problematic as the shelter is constructed entirely out of bamboo and tarps that unfortunately leaves many gaps that allow small dogs to easily squeeze between pens or dig themselves out. What this means is that much of volunteer time is wasted chasing puppies down the road.
Unfortunately, as floodwaters recede in Bangkok, so do the volunteers. The number of volunteers left to care for these animals dwindles as low as five on some days. SCAD Bangkok hopes that they it can either adopt out or return all dogs to their caregivers by the end of January. In the meantime, volunteers at the shelter try their best to keep the dogs happy and healthy until each one finds its forever home.
-- Katherine Polak, DVM, MPH - IFAW Thailand rescue team member