Shelter for disabled stray dogs in Thailand is struggling

A dog shelter in Thailand, that cares for stray and disabled dogs, is having financial problems as their donations and visitors has gone down because of the global coronavirus pandemic.

The shelter is run by the foundation The Man That Rescues Dogs and cares for more than 600 stray dogs and feeds 350 more that live on the streets. They also rescue disabled dogs, mostly victims of accidents, and give them wheels for feet so they can run and play again.

“It’s almost like, they have no idea that they have a disability and once you put them in the wheelchair for the first time, it’s like there is no learning curve,” Christopher Chidichimo, volunteer and sponsorship coordinator at the shelter, told Reuters.

“They immediately know what to do. It’s really amazing. And, one thing that we love about our disabled dogs is without us and without support, they would never walk again. And now they all have their own wheelchair and they have no idea, they just, they’re so happy,” Chidichimo said.

“Without support, they would never walk again”

“These guys, they are eager for us to strap them up. They get excited and start wagging their tails. Before we open the gate, they will all wait to be strapped on the wheelchairs. There is a leader of the pack, and the rest just follows it,” dog handler Phanuphong Borphuak said. “They run very fast, we humans can’t keep up.”

The shelter spends more than $1,300 each day to care for all these animals. But lately, the shelter’s been struggling because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Since the pandemic began, we’ve experienced an 80 percent drop in visitors, virtually no volunteers and a 40 percent drop in donations. So, all of those have really affected us,” Chidichimo said.

Due to lack of funds, the foundation had to stop a monthly campaign to spay and neuter strays, which is really important for Thailand since their stray cat and dog population keeps growing.

Local authorities say Thailand could be home to up to 2 million stray cats and dogs by 2027. That number could jump to 5 million in 20 years unless steps are taken to control their reproduction.

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