The History Of The Soi Dog Foundation
Soi Dog was founded in 2003 by Margot Homburg Park and John and Gill Dalley. Phuket was growing rapidly at the time and the stray dog population was increasing at a fast pace. Witnessing the suffering endured by street animals John, Gill and Margot held Soi Dog’s first clinics utilizing volunteer vets from overseas. 2004 saw numerous clinics held around the island, the foundation began to grow. When no volunteer vets were available dogs would be taken to local vets, who provided low cost sterilization for the foundation.
2004 was an unlucky year for Soi Dog with Gill Dalley losing both legs from septicaemia contracted while rescuing a dog from a flooded water buffalo field. Less than a week after Gill’s release from hospital the Tsunami struck. Leone Cosens a major volunteer was killed while going to the aid of tsunami victims.
Gill's story can be seen on this video of the Singapore "Asian of the Year" program.
Many expected the Foundation to close after these tragedies but with the eyes of the world on the region over 50 volunteer vets arrived over the following 3 months and Soi Dog worked around the clock operating clinics not only on Phuket but throughout the region. At one point 3 clinics were running simultaneously and Gill was fully involved although wheel chair bound at that time. Soi Dog received several awards from amongst others; the Humane Society International and the prestigious Elizabeth Lewitt award.
WSPA who had organised a Tsunami appeal, agreed to finance the foundation’s sterilization program for the next 2 years, which resulted in Soi Dog being able to employ 2 full time vets, full time dog catchers and nursing staff. This saw a rapid increase in the number of sterilizations carried out.
In late 2005 the foundation (already officially registered in the Netherlands) became the first society of its type to be granted official foundation status in Thailand, and a principally Thai board was established. Late 2005 saw it necessary to look for land to establish a shelter as over 100 abandoned dogs were now living at its clinic in Phuket City.
In early 2006 Margot moved to Bangkok where she continues to educate and pursue a sterilization program there. Also in 2006 the Foundation established a clinic at the Government dog pound, and invested over 3,000,000 Thai Baht improving the conditions for the dogs there. The 100 dogs from the clinic in Phuket Town were moved to newly built runs there and managed by the foundation. In March 2008 the foundation was asked to find its own premises as the Government needed the land Soi Dog was using.
A large area was found in Mai Khao and construction began on building a new shelter which remains the headquarters of the foundation today.
Over the years Soi Dog’s sterilization and vaccination program has continued to grow. Soi Dog firmly believes that the only effective (and humane) solution in ending the needless suffering of street animals is through sterilization. It has been scientifically proven that once the “tipping point” of 75 to 80 percent of a stray population is sterilized significant declines in population begin to occur. In 2004 2,317 dogs and cats were sterilized growing to over 10,000 sterilizations performed in 2012. The objective for 2013 is for sterilizing 15,000 dogs and cats.
A number of significant events occurred during 2011. 2011 began with Phuket being hit by a distemper epidemic. Through the generosity of Soi Dog’s supporters the epidemic was rapidly contained.
In mid-2011 Soi Dog completed the purchase of the land on which the shelter is located, securing its long term future.
3rd quarter of 2011 severe flooding struck Bangkok and many other areas of Thailand. Soi Dog joined with other groups such as Wildlife Friends of Thailand in rescuing and treating 1000's of animal victims of the floods. The outpouring of aid from new and existing supporters was amazing and enabled Soi Dog to fund rescue efforts for a large number of groups and organizations working in the flood waters.
In 2011 the “Trade of Shame” campaign began with the intent of stopping the illegal dog meat trade from Thailand to Vietnam. Since the campaign began in August of 2011 more arrests of smugglers have occurred (over 30 arrests) than in the preceding 15 years (2 arrests).
Soi Dog is actively working on 3 fronts towards ending the trade; enforcement of existing laws, public awareness and working with the governments of Thailand, Laos and Vietnam towards the more active enforcement of existing laws and the introduction of stronger animal welfare legislation. Soi Dog is the founding member of the recently formed Asia Canine Protection Alliance comprising the Humane Society International, Animals Asia, Change For Animals Foundation and Soi Dog.
Soi Dog is investing heavily in assisting Thailand’s Department of Livestock in caring for the literally thousands of dogs rescued from the trade and housed at government shelters.
In 2012 a silver lining emerged from the 2011 Bangkok floods: the decision to expand Soi Dog's work to Bangkok. A clinic was established in the Lad Phrao district. With Bangkok home to over 300,000 stray dogs and cats the concentration is placed on large scale mobile sterilization treatment programs throughout the Bangkok Metropolitan Area.
Also in 2012 with support from Dogs Trust International the PUP (prevent unwanted puppies) program commenced in Phuket. Under PUP the number of sterilizations performed per year has doubled to over 10,000. This will see the population problem on Phuket "solved" within 24 to 30 months thereby allowing Soi Dog to continue in expanding work across Thailand where little or nothing is done to help stray animals.
The Foundation has continued to grow. Soi Dog currently employs over 30 staff members including veterinarians, animal rescue officers, shelter personnel and management. Soi Dog also has a large domestic and international base of part time and full time volunteers.
Sterilization continues as the major focus with over 49,139 dogs and cats sterilized as of March 2013 in Bangkok, on Phuket and in neighbouring provinces. The shelter and hospital always has over 350 dogs and cats on site, many receiving treatment for wounds and injuries.
Soi Dog's education program works with local schools, with the intent of changing the attitude of the next generation in regards to responsible pet ownership including sterilization of pets.
Soi Dog operates an active adoption program. In 2012 over 350 dogs and cats were homed both overseas and within Thailand.
Soi Dog's accounts are fully audited and submitted to the Thai Government and the international animal charities watchdog, Animal People (Animal People's Website) in the United States each year. Soi Dog's charity registration numbers are: Thailand: Phor.Gor. 39/2548, registration number USA: 27-1600444 registration number Australia: 58982568831, charity registration number in Holland: 37120202, charity registration number in France: W332011412, charity registration number in the UK:1145142