Soi Dogs work to end the viciously cruel dog meat trade to Vietnam continues with determination. Our campaign team, working with Thai authorities, is gathering information about how the trade operates and who is responsible for the suffering.
One of our team recently spoke to a human victim of the trade, Khun Ball, and heard first hand of the disappearance of her beloved companion Ngean. This is their story.
Ball, a 31-year-old jewellery designer, still cries every day and with the tears she has hope, too, and prays that her lovely, fluffy, cuddly dog will be found. But time for the slightest optimism is running out. It looks certain that the dog meat traders got him.
Ngean, a three-year-old cross bangkaew and alsatian, lived with Ball at their Bangkok home. They were family and their lives entwined. Then came the day when Ngean, a lucky name in Thai, met the dog snatchers and his luck ran out.
I left Ngean with my mum and dad at their home at Samut Songkram (just south of Bangkok) while I went away working for a few days, said Ball. He liked to go out and wander for half an hour when dad opened the gate for him. The night he disappeared, on January 4, dad let him out at about 8pm.
When he did not return, they searched for him. They searched every day for the next four days. They did not tell me because they hoped to find him. When I went to their home to collect him, they had to tell me.
She joined the search, putting posters all round the area. But there were no reports of Ngean. Then came the news of dogs being rescued by the police at Ban Tharae, the Butcher Village notorious for its involvement with the dog meat trade.
I drove to Nakhon Phanom quarantine station to see if I could find Ngean. I stayed the night at a hotel and went back to the dog shelter the next day. There were many dogs there but Ngean was not. It was there that she learned that the dog snatchers had been operating in areas around her parents house in Samut Songkram and her fears deepened.
On her way home, she called in at the police station at Ban Tharae. The officers told her that the rescued dogs had been sent to the Buri Ram dog shelter down near the Cambodian border several hundred kilometres to the south. She drove straight there, searching for days among the hundreds of dogs to see if she could find Ngean.
I am so sad, she said. I cry all the time, during the day, during the night, whenever I think of him. I worry about whether he will get enough to eat and whether anyone will care for him like I have. He belongs to me and I pray that he will come back to me.
Balls story is far from unique. The dog meat trades snatchers and buyers target well-fed and fit pet dogs. They end up cruelly crammed into cages, transported without food across Thailand, the Mekong river and Laos and into Vietnam, where they are savagely beaten to tenderise their flesh and then skinned alive for food.
Every month thousands of stories like Ngeans and Balls are re-enacted. Very few have happy endings.
Imagine for a moment how you would feel to have your beloved pet stolen in the dead of night, knowing that while you searched for him he was crammed with other dogs in a small cage, barely able to breathe and unable to move. Knowing further that if he survived the journey he would be tortured for hours before being skinned alive and butchered.
Only with your help can this despicable practice be stopped. Will you join me as a Champion For Change and help bring an end to this genocide?