Cadgwith couple help dogs being sold for meat in Thailand
A couple have spoken of how they travelled thousands of miles across the world to help dogs that were being sold for meat.
Julie and Mark Oldfield, from Cadgwith, have just returned from Thailand where they worked with a charity to support the animals that were at risk of being slaughtered as part of the Asian dog meat trade.
They volunteered with Soi Dog Foundation on the mercy mission in Phuket, where the charity helped wipe out the organised illegal dog meat trade that saw thousands of dogs, including people’s pets, stolen from Thailand and trucked across Laos to Vietnam, to be slaughtered and their carcases sold to restaurants.
Julie, who is a dog trainer back home with Cadgwith Canines, said: “We love coming here and helping the rescue dogs in Phuket.
“The Soi Dog Foundation is a fantastic place where dogs are rescued from the streets and also from the hideous dog meat trade.
“Everything is funded by donations, including a new animal hospital where thousands of dogs are treated every year.”
While out there, the couple also helped the charity rescue strays off the street, many of them with horrific injuries and diseases.
Julie added that many of dogs rescued go on to be adopted, not just in Thailand but around the world, with 820 rehomed last year alone.
Mark, who is a plumber, said: “We enjoy walking and socialising with the dogs. The satisfaction we get from knowing we have made a difference to these animals’ lives will stay with us for the rest of our lives and surely we will continue to come back.”
The couple have been volunteering with the charity every year for the last four years.
John Dalley, founder of Soi Dog – ‘soi’ being the Thai word for ‘alley’ or ‘street’ – said: “It’s wonderful having people like Mark and Julie giving up their time to help us.
“Although we have salaried employees such as our veterinarians, we rely very much on volunteers to do much of the essential work.
“We are always most grateful for their generosity. We couldn’t do it without them.”
Founded 15 years ago, the foundation’s main aim has been to control dog populations by neutering and vaccinating as many as possible, with the animals then returned to where they came from.
It currently sterilises and vaccinates more than 8,000 animals a month and more than 300,000 have been sterilised since operations began – including more than 80 per cent of Phuket’s stray dog population, which has reduced from about 80,000 to about 7,000 as a result.
It is now turning its attention to the 640,000-strong street dog population of Bangkok.