In cooperation with Blue Tail International we established a project for the dog shelter ARK. The goal was to build an outside enclosure for sick dogs which for now live in small cages. The sick dogs cannot leave their cages, because of a contamination risk for the other dogs.
For more information, read our blog article about Blue Tail and ARK.
We spent a lot of time and effort for the preparation of the project. We have visited ARK multiple times in order to determine the location of the enclosure, take measures, set a budget, and to find a volunteer engineer who could help us with the construction of the outside enclosure. We then presented the project on our website and conducted a social media campaign in order to collect the necessary funds.
Sadly, the project has never been realised. Four days before the scheduled construction of the enclosure, the owner of ARK Dip has stopped all cooperation with Blue Tail and Omakua.
Even though we have been very sad about his decision, we understand Dip’s decision.
The Thai government has recently conducted several raids in different animal shelters and NGOs in Chiang Mai with the goal to find illegal workers. The goal was to chase down foreigners who get paid for their work in Thailand, without having a working permit.
Many NGOs in Thailand employ volunteers and workers which are in Thailand on a tourist visa. Many NGOs do register, because it is difficult and costly for NGOs to be officially recognised. Further, work permits can be expensive, too.
We do not pay ourselves with Omakua, and we thus do not fall into the category of illegal workers. Nevertheless, we understand that Dip does not want to continue to work with us.
In Thailand, the law and what happens on the field are two very different things, and corruption remains wide-spread. We think that Dip was scared of possible consequences if foreigners are seen on the ARK territory, even if it would have been legal.
It only needs one person with bad intentions and some pictures of foreigners building an enclosure, to Dip could have been pressured into paying a bribe. Many shelters in Chiang Mai have demanded their foreign volunteers and employees to stay away from work for a certain time, even those who actually have a work permit – just in case.
We have heard stories before from other NGOs which were asked to pay a “tax” which does not exist on paper by local authorities. Luckily, in the mentioned case, the person had high-placed contacts, and could continue the work after some phone calls. Dip clearly does not have the same contacts.
We have been touched very much by the whole situation, because everybody loses. First, the dogs which will stay in their small cages and will not be able to go outside, then Dip who will have to find new sponsors if he decides to build the enclosure in the future; further, the waste of time and effort for Blue Tail and Omakua, and the disappointment of our donors and volunteer engineer.
Our research for articles about the raid in Chiang Mai were fruitless. You can find below links to articles about similar incidents:
It is important to underline that this is our point of view of the situation. The article does not reflect the opinion of ARK and Blue Tail International.