Animal rights protection groups are planning to take legal action against livestock officials in Chiang Rai's Mae Fa Luang district for cruelty against animals after they captured more than 100 dogs and cats in a village for extermination reportedly to prevent the spread of rabies.
Dayin Petcharat, founder of SOS Animals Thailand, said she was told by villagers of Ban Jalor in Mae Fa Luang district that, on Jan 27, a group of livestock officials arrived in their village to demand them to hand over their dogs and cats for elimination in order to prevent the spread of rabies.
She said most villagers were reluctant to hand over the animals to the officials but they were warned that they might face imprisonment of heavy fines if their cats or dogs bite other animals or people and they become infected with rabies.
She said around 130 dogs and cats at the village were killed.
Ms Dayin said she had written to the Livestocks Development Department asking about its measures in handling rabies, but there has been no response. She added that she then contacted the Diseases Control Department asking for the protocol in the handling of cats and dogs to prevent rabies.
She pointed out that in other villages where rabies was reported, only animals which were infected with rabies were eliminated while the others were quarantined for observation.
The SOS Animals Thailand and other animal protection groups, including Watchdog Thailand are collecting information and evidence to file charges against officials involved with the mass killing of the dogs and cats at the hilltribe village, she added.
Chiang Rai provincial livestock chief Mr Nopporn Mahakantha clarified that one rabies dog was found in Ban Jalor and, therefore, it was necessary for preventive sake that all the dogs and cats in the village should be wiped out to prevent the spread of the disease.
He said that to quarantine the animals in Ban Jalor for six months for observation was impossible because every house in the village was not fenced and the animals could stray out any time.
He claimed that livestock officials had called a meeting with the villagers to discuss the rabies control measure and most villagers agreed with the officials' method to get rid of the animals.
He assured that there was no torture of the animals to be exterminated, adding that he would talk with animal rights protection group to understand the need to prevent rabies from spreading.
Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)