DLD Director-General of the Department Sorawit Thanito made the pledge to have all strays removed from tourist areas while visiting Ao Nang Beach on Friday (Feb 22).
Ao Nang is ground zero for the dog-roundup campaign, as it is the site where 5-year-old Finnish boy Eemi Nikula was attacked by stray dogs last Wednesday (Feb 20). (See story here.)
The attack has evoked a national reaction, with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha last week taking time out of his Krabi itinerary to visit Eemi in hospital. (See story here.)
“I have ordered officials to round up stray dogs in all tourist areas, starting with tourism areas at Ao Nang Beach and Phi Phi Island,” Mr Sorawit said.
“We will continue this in many places across the country for the safety of tourists,” he added.
“We ask for cooperation from local people because officers will catch (and remove) any dogs even if they have not caused any harm,” Mr Sorawit explained.
“But we will find a suitable place for the dogs to live without disturbing or harming tourists,” stressed, countering comments online from people calling for officials cull strays.
Junelachat Junelaphet, a veterinarian with Krabi Provincial Livestock Office, told The Phuket News today, “There are only three more stray dogs that we know of at Ao Nang Beach that still have to be caught, but there are about 70 other dogs throughout the rest of Ao Nang (subdistrict) that we need to catch.”
Mr Junelachat said that his office aims to catch those 70-odd dogs within the coming week.
“Now we are moving all dogs that we have already caught from the Krabi Livestock Office to the Animal Husbandry and Genetic Improvement Office in Krabi Noi subdistrict because there is not enough space at the Krabi Livestock Office for all the dogs,” Mr Junelachat explained.
The Ao Nang OrBorTor will continue with this campaign,” he assured.
“NGOs have put pressure on Ao Nang OrBorTor officials over this, but this order is beyond Ao Nang OrBorTor’s level of authority,” he said.
Meanwhile, young Finnish boy Eemi was discharged from Krabi Nakarin International Hospital today (Feb 25), Krabi Provincial Immigration Office Pol Col Suparuek Pankosol confirmed to The Phuket News.
Col Suparuek and other officials visited Eemi in hospital on Friday (Feb 22).
Doctors had vaccinated Eemi against rabies and tetanus, and provided psychological treatment, Col Suparuek said.
“He is improving, but Eemi and his parents must wait for doctors to check his condition again on Wednesday (Feb 27). After that their travel insurance will provide tickets for them to fly back,” he added.
If the family does fly home early, then Eemi will have to continue his rabies vaccinations there, he noted.
“They were scheduled to return to Finland on March 6, but we’re happy to extend their stay if they want,” Col Suparuek said.
– Additional reporting by Eakkapop Thongtub