By Natthawat Laping
Residents of Ban Jalor in Tambon Mae Fah Luang in Chiang Rai’s Mae Fah Luang district are angry that officials from the Mae Fah Luang livestock office used the law to force them to hand over their beloved pets to exterminate them to control the spread of rabies
Following reports of the pet culling, the seven groups wrote to the department chief to demand an explanation for what they regarded as an inhumane act by the local livestock officials.
A reporter from The Nation visiting the village on Thursday found no pet dogs and cats were left in the entire village, apart from four caged dogs at the homes of Pongsak Wisetpimolkul, 27, and Thidarat Mayer, 26.
Each of the two villagers has locked their two pet dogs in a cage in their homes as ordered by the district livestock office.
Pongsak said the culling followed a finding on January 21 that a teacher’s dog had caught rabies and spread it to seven other dogs.
He said the district livestock office held a January 26 meeting of representatives from each family to let them vote whether they would hand over all of their pets to be exterminated to control rabies.
Pongsak said the villagers initially disagreed but the officials threatened that they would be held responsible and would be required to pay fines if their animals were to bite other people and spread rabies.
Pongsak said the villagers requested the officials detain their animals for 14 days instead of killing them all but the officials insisted that regulations required that they be exterminated.
The officials said if the villagers did not want to hand over the pets they must keep them in cages at all times.
Pongsak said the villagers did not have money to build cages and are afraid of legal actions, so they handed over their pets with tears to the officials on January 27.
Alongkorn Wibuldejkhajorn said his heart was broken when he was forced to hand over a cat he had raised since it was a kitten to be killed by officials.
An official at the district livestock office, who asked not to be named, said the pets had all been exterminated in line with the control measures and their bodies were sent for lab tests.
The official claimed that the livestock officials were also sad but they had no other choice.