Pricey Pets: Law proposed for owners to register their dogs and cats or face hefty fine

A viral photo of incredibly cute cats in iconic moto-taxi vests. Photo: ‎Yollada Kotakhun‎/ Facebook
A viral photo of incredibly cute cats in iconic moto-taxi vests. Photo: ‎Yollada Kotakhun‎/ Facebook

The cabinet has approved the drafting of an amendment to the Animal Cruelty Act that would require the nation’s pet owners to register their dogs and cats or face a hefty fine. The proposed THB450 (US$13) fee, however, is sparking some serious squawking online.

Government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said yesterday that the cabinet is in favor of the new registration scheme, something they say will help prevent both neglect and the spread of disease.

If the law is approved, pet owners would be required to pony up THB450 per pet, money that will ostensibly go toward the registration process, a health record booklet, and pet identification. Those failing to register would face a whopping fine of up to THB25,000 (US$760), Khaosod reported.

“This is to solve the problem of pets being abandoned in public, which is commonly caused by owners who neglect the welfare of their pets. Some of them spread disease to human, resulting in fatality and a burden to the government,” Sansern told reporters.

While that’s all well and good, what has people in an uproar is a fee that’s more than the daily minimum wage in Thailand.

“I agree with the registration, but for the first time, they should let people register their pets for free to record the population of cats and dogs … [Any] fees should also go towards animal welfare, not the local administration. Trying to make extra cash from animals — that’s disgusting,” read one Facebook comment.  

Drama Addict, a popular Facebook page where people discusses local news, took the opposite point of view, running an opinion piece that was shared more than 300 times within an hour.

“Registration for cats and dogs is the first step to solve these issues,” a page admin wrote, attaching news stories about children recently bitten to death by stray dogs.

“When these incidents occur, all the cat and dog lovers hide under their mother’s skirt. No one really offers a solution or condemns those irresponsible dog owners. When the government comes up with a policy, these animal lovers start whining and come up with many excuses.”

“Owning pets comes with responsibilities. If you can’t do it, don’t own pets. Don’t play the ‘But I’m poor’ card.”

Meanwhile, Amy Baron, founder of cat shelter Paws Bangkok, thinks that population control is the action needed to solve the stray animal problem.

“All the registration in the world will not solve the stray animal problem in Bangkok. What is needed is easily accessible free spay and neuter services. Reducing the barriers to sterilization is the solution,” she told Coconuts Bangkok.

The PM’s office has so far made no comment on the matter.

So will pet registration ever happen in Thailand? Leave us a comment and visit Paws Bangkok’s website if you’re looking to adopt or donate for homeless kitties.

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