Spay and Neuter
Thailand is home to millions of stray dogs and cats.
Soi Dog Foundation was set up to help improve the welfare of stray animals in Thailand by addressing the main source of the problem – overpopulation. It is widely agreed that the only ethical and most effective way of managing a stray dog population is through a programme of mass spay and neuter, or CNVR (Catch, Neuter, Vaccinate, Return).
In July 2022, Soi Dog Foundation reached the milestone of three-quarters-of-a-million animals reached by the programme and has now neutered and vaccinated over 750,000 dogs and cats since it began in 2003, now reaching more than 16,000 new animals every month.
Procedures are carried out at spay and neuter facilities in Soi Dog's Phuket and Bangkok locations and at any one of 12 mobile clinics - eight of which operate in and around Greater Bangkok, with four more located in Southern Thailand. Dogs and cats are brought in to the mobile facilities by Soi Dog's teams of animal rescue officers and by members the public. The CNVR programme began in Phuket and was expanded in 2015, most notably to Bangkok, which is home to hundreds of thousands of stray dogs. The programme in Bangkok is 50% funded by Dogs Trust Worldwide and over 400,000 animals have been spayed/neutered and vaccinated in Thailand's capital city to date. The Bangkok CNVR programme will eventually comprise of ten mobile clinics across the city's metropolitan area and will take an estimated seven to ten years to complete.
In late 2020, with help from independent animal welfare consultants, Soi Dog carried out a survey of the stray dog population in Greater Bangkok, the first since 2016. The results of this survey showed not only a marked reduction in population in the areas that the CNVR programme has reached - an estimated 20% fewer dogs were seen compared to the numbers in 2016 - but also a dramatic improvement in the welfare state of those who remain, with far fewer skinny or emaciated dogs.
Soi Dog's CNVR programme reaches various other areas of Thailand too. It is currently active in Chiang Mai, Chonburi, Phang Nga, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Surat Thani, Kanchanaburi, Songkhla and Phatthalung, and has visited islands such as Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Koh Kood and Koh Chang since 2015. In late 2021, Soi Dog's first international CNVR effort began in neighbouring Cambodia, in the country's capital, Phnom Penh.
As important as neutering is to population control, so vaccination is to minimising the spread of potentially life-threatening diseases such as rabies. The ultimate goal of vaccination is to eliminate rabies in Thailand.
By vaccinating a minimum of 70% of strays in an area you achieve what's known as herd immunity, a form of indirect protection from infectious disease that occurs when a large percentage of a population has become immune to an infection, thereby providing a measure of protection for individuals who are not immune. Soi Dog's CNVR work in Bangkok has contributed to a marked reduction in reported rabies cases in the city since 2015.