The bucket truck

Dogs are plentiful in Thailand. Many homeless ones (soi dogs) can be found in Bangkok but in the country they generally do belong to someone.
In my village just about every house hold would have at least two, some people like my brother in law have four of them. Some households look after them to what would be considered an average standard in the west but many don’t look after them at all. They don’t have them as companions they have them simply for security and no other reason that I can work out.

Dogs fights are common (many a day) and most morning I wake up to dogs barking before the loudspeaker drowns them out. Basically they are a pain in the butt and a real nuisance. They survive on what ever they can scrounge and any left over sticky rice that the family might throw their way at the end of the night. They always look sick and many die a long and painful death due to disease and malnutrition. From my limited knowledge of Buddhism I understand it is wrong to personally take the life of any animal and therefore these sick dogs are never ‘put down’.

One way around that problem is by using the bucket truck. Every few days a ute (they call them pick ups here) drives around all the villages. In the cage on the back are many dogs and on top of the cage are many buckets. If you want to get rid of your dog you wave the driver down and depending on the size and quality of your dog you will receive a bucket or buckets as a trade.

Once the cage is full (one more dog and they will all die from suffocation) the truck returns to the border with Laos. Here it seems they are moved onto a bigger truck for the long journey to Vietnam and eventually onto some famished Vietnamese dinner plate.
In Lak Sao where I work sometimes in Laos I am only 30kms from the Vietnamese border and every day we see many of these trucks driving past.
A friend and I saw one parked up one day so he got out and took some photos.




*Edit* January, 2011. Here is a video that I took last year of the dog truck climbing through the mountains near Lak Sao, close to the border between Laos and Vietnam.

17 responses to “The bucket truck

  1. Absolutely horrid but interesting to learn what really happens in the world.

  2. I have seen these dog trucks drive through our village many times before. Whilst I do not agree with the slaughter of these dogs, as it is not my country then I have to accept it. However it does make me very sad to see the packed cage go by.
    I read somewhere that dogs are looked upon by Buddhists as people who wronged in their previous life and hence the mistreatment they receive in this one.

    MeMock replied “Hi Hoo Don and Barb. I was wondering what kind of comments I might recieve on this post as the killing of animals seems a very sensitive subject these days. After I uploaded the post I realised that I hadn’t offered any personal opinion on the practise. I was going to go back and re edit the post and add one when it occurred to me that I didn’t really have one. I mean it has been happening for years and is a way of life as Hoo Don mentioned. I mean really what is the difference to sheep or cows going off to market? If I really had to decide if it was good or bad I would have to say good as these dogs are unwanted pets and would be just left to die a very slow and painful death at home otherwise.”

  3. A very convincing opinion and one which I find difficult to argue with. I just wish the dogs could be given a more spacious death wagon than the cramped bucket truck .

  4. Absolutely disgusting, but Thais don’t take care of animals anyway, so why am I surprised!

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  8. Did you see the recent news about a truck load of 700 dogs being seized in Mukdahan? It was on the TV but you can read about it here:
    As a result of this news I learned that those “bucket trucks” are illegal. They are not supposed to be going round collecting dogs; or so I was told.

    • Hi Jungle Biker, yes I did hear about that and I thought about adding something to this post about it but never got around to it so thanks for reminding me! I really don’t understand all the fuss about stray dogs or dogs with uncaring owners been taken away and put out of their misery via a dinner plate in Vietnam. It is a win win situation for everyone. Especially when I read that half of those rescued dogs ended up in some animal shelter in Thailand where they died from heat exhaustion. I ask anyone who is against this dog trafficking – what is crueller?

  9. Looks like the bucket truck has made the Sydney Morning Herald as well! Take a look.

  10. Do you ever have problems with the village dogs? I like dogs but now if I go for a walk in a Thai village I find a stick because it make me feel like I can defend myself from a hungry dog that thinks a farang looks tasty.

    Hope you don’t mind me asking another questions on village life in Thailand. It seems to me that Chickens just roam the village. How do they keep track of who owns which Chicken and why don’t the dogs eat fresh Chicken daily?

    • Hi Keith,

      Have a read about my dog bight experience here in part one and then part two. It mentions the bucket truck there as well!

      Now when I jog in the village I ride the motorbike a few kms out of ‘town’ and jog down a small track through the ricefields. Much better view and not as many dogs.

      I don’t mind the questions at all – not sure if I can answer them or not but fire away anyway!

      The chickens all end up heading home to where they belong at the end of the day and the majority of villagers (here anyway) would never dream of knocking off another persons chook. As for the dogs not eating them, that is an interesting question. I know they get beaten pretty bad around here if they mess up so perhaps they only try it once!

      • Thanks for the answers and the links. I guess if the dog doesn’t make any noise my stick will not do me any good.

        • Good point! have you ever tried one of those little gadgets that emit a noise that only dogs can hear and drives them away? I have heard they are actually quite effective.

          • Don’t spend enough time in Thailand at present to need it but may have to look into it in the future. Thanks for the idea.

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