Silk island, known more formally as Koh Dach, is an island untouched by time. Nestled in the Mekong River, the island is an hour’s drive from Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh. Despite its proximity, its worlds away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The island is undeveloped, consisting of small villages, rice fields, and Buddhist temples.
Up to 1,000 cats and dogs call the island home. Most are free-roaming, with many living either on the streets or at temples where the monks provide them with food. Sadly, there is no veterinarian on the island or other animal care services. This means that every animal on the island is unvaccinated, unsterilised, and many suffer from chronic, untreated illnesses.
But there is hope. Pet owners on Silk Island love their animals very much, and luckily there is no dog meat trade on the island, unlike in neighboring provinces. FOUR PAWS is committed to improving animal welfare in the Kingdom of Cambodia, and keeping the island dog meat-free. In February 2020, FOUR PAWS launched an island-wide mission with our local partner Animal Rescue Cambodia.
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Our goals are to
- Provide lifesaving care to animals on the entire island
- Successfully spay/neuter and vaccinate at least 500 animals
- Conduct education sessions to educate hundreds of students on animal care
- Establish relationship with temples, monks, and the public to provide ongoing services to the island
- Keep Silk Island dog meat-free
"Sor" in Khmer means the color white, but he was anything but. Our team found Sor in a really bad condition: extremely matted, suffering from overgrown nails, skin and eye infections, and open wounds. The first time we met this poor pup, his eyes were so infected and crusted that he could barely open them. Some members of the community told us that he was a ‘naughty dog’, which is why he has never been groomed or bathed. We watched him spending his days lying on the road in the hot sun, covered in flies landing on his wounds. Sor needed help immediately.
Ginou was extremely infested with ticks, and suffered from a severely enlarged abdomen, filled with fluid. We suspect he was in severe heart failure due to a heavy infection with heartworms. Without knowing what was causing the swelling of the belly, Ginou’s owner frequently tried to treat him with human deworming tablets, which failed to help him. When our team met the pup, he was having difficulty breathing because of all the fluid in his abdomen. We knew he would need serious medical attention and fast.
Goh’s owner reported to us that she had 4 litters of puppies in the past, with the last litter consisting of 10 puppies! Her owner simply couldn’t afford to feed any more puppies, and decided to inject Goh with a human birth control product, in a misguided attempt to stop her from having any more puppies. Obviously, such products are not designed for dogs, and the infections made poor Goh extremely ill. Her fur fell out, skin became thickened, and she developed a potbelly appearance. She also has a large wound on her abdomen that is often covered in flies. The owner of Goh is desperate for medical care for her and her other dogs.
Sadly, dog Lucky is very unlucky. She has swollen, sore eyes and severe scabies infection. If this is not enough – she has several large mammary tumors, that are potentially cancerous. She suffers in the unrelenting heat, itchy and uncomfortable. Her owner reports wanting to get Lucky the treatment she needs, but hasn’t been able to given the lack of a veterinarian on the island.
Our work in Southeast Asia
As a part of our Stray Animal Care program, we have teamed up with local charity, Animal Rescue Cambodia, to help improve the dire situation for stray cats and dogs in the capital city of Phnom Penh. Read more about our work here.
We also want to stop the cruel dog and cat meat trade in Cambodia, Vietnam and Indonesia. Read more about our campaign here: www.dogcatmeat.four-paws.org