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Phuket Opinion: Hit the dog

PHUKET: The incident involving a foreign man attacking a dog in Nai Harn this week stunned and appalled our expat community on the island.

opinionanimalsviolencecrimepolice
By The Phuket News

Sunday 21 July 2019, 09:00AM


Mervyn Harding, 42, from Plymouth, England, was caught on CCTV carrying out the attack. Image: Supplied

Mervyn Harding, 42, from Plymouth, England, was caught on CCTV carrying out the attack. Image: Supplied

CCTV footage posted online plainly showed the man – now identified as British national Mervyn Harding, originally from Plymouth – pulling up on his motorbike and retrieving a weapon from under the motorbike seat. He then walked up to the dog and repeatedly hit it, entirely unprovoked. He then took off on his motorbike.

Outrage was instant online, with many people calling for at least the same treatment to be meted out to the Rawai expat. Some people called for even harsher punishment.

If this man were caught and found guilty of the same act in his homeland, under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, the latest animal welfare legislation in England and Wales, penalties for neglect and cruelty include fines of up to £20,000, a maximum jail term of 51 weeks and in some circumstances a lifetime ban on keeping pets.

That’s a maximum fine of up to more than B767,000, and in the land of animal welfare one could easily expect some further penance ordered by the judge.

But under the Thai Cruelty Prevention and Welfare of Animals Act, which came into force in 2014, while penalties do allow for prison terms of up to two years, fines are limited to no more than B40,000.

Swift action by the police saw Harding on Wednesday arraigned for animal cruelty and several counts of trespass, and now behind bars in the detention cells at Phuket Provincial Court with the prospect of posting bail denied.

Regardless, social media has likely served greater justice than the wheels of the legal system is likely to do here. Harding has been now publicly exposed by the community, leaving even his social options limited. It would be more disturbing if his attitude became more cavalier. His friends, too, must now weigh their options in being publicly associated with him.

The attack also galvanised our community, with people from a wide range of nationalities deploring the attack as despicable. The response was uniform: the attack was simply unacceptable. And that’s the opinion strongly expressed by a community whose tolerance has been tempered by all the enraging issues that come with living here.

The message was clear and simple – we don’t want this behaviour in our community.

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GerryT81 | 22 July 2019 - 20:19:16

Re."Priorities"Mr.Fas. should know that everyone has his own priorities.And the incident he mentions was the subject of many articles already.Not sure why he is missing some uproar.Comments on here or other websites did show that many people dislike the slow handling of that case.But he can keep ranting until justice is done.

GerryT81 | 22 July 2019 - 20:09:42

A compliment for the PN for that opinion.Spot on.
I love that species of expats complaining about barking dogs,crying kids and not being allowed to buy alcohol 365 days a year!Sad souls !

CaptainJack69 | 21 July 2019 - 23:25:30

No one would deny that this was an appalling thing to do, but if you want to talk about legal ramifications and compare them to developed countries where noise complaints are taken seriously and people are held responsible for their animals transgressions then you are in the wrong place.

Fascinated | 21 July 2019 - 09:35:07

As bad as this was lets remember amongst all the angst that this is a DOG. Where is the uproar ofver the taxi driver who continues to work and STILL hasn't been charged. Priorities people, priorities

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