Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ppaws tackles pagoda strays




Ppaws tackles pagoda strays

Stray ‘pagoda cats’ are a common sight at wats
Stray ‘pagoda cats’ are a common sight at wats, but their care often falls to resource-stretched monks and lay people. NICK STREET

Ppaws tackles pagoda strays

At Wat Sansom Kosal, Nou Chamnan picks a small, weepy-eyed young cat and carefully inspects it.

Like most pagodas, the Meanchey district temple is a de facto home for the neighbourhood’s unwanted strays, a place where kitten litters and injured or aged cats and dogs are abandoned in the knowledge that they will get some food. But it is no solution to the problem of sick and malnourished strays, an animal welfare organisation says.

While pagodas traditionally care for vulnerable people and animals, many don’t have the time or resources to protect them all. And at the moment, the practice of neutering animals is almost unheard of in the city.

Enter the Phnom Penh Animal Welfare Society (PPAWS). A volunteer organisation aimed at protecting the welfare of the city’s cats and dogs, it is raising money to buy and fit out a second-hand van, which it will turn into a mobile spay and neuter clinic, to ease the burden of caring for the animals from the pagoda’s monks.

Chamnan, an assistant vet at Phnom Penh veterinarian Agrovet Cambodia and PPAWS member, said neutering an animal is the single best decision for long-term animal welfare, where the high number of stray street animals are prone to contagious diseases.

“It’s important to neuter animals so that they don’t have problems in the future.

“In pagodas, most of the baby dogs and cats that are born never get enough care, and when they bite each other they pass on diseases which can cause death,” she said.

PPAWS founder Nicola Scales and assistant vet Nou Chamnan check up on a neighbourhood pagoda pooch
PPAWS founder Nicola Scales and assistant vet Nou Chamnan check up on a neighbourhood pagoda pooch. NICK STREET

“We are aiming to raise $10,000 so that we can start looking for a van. Once we’ve got the van, we can start gradually buying more and more equipment, little by little,” Nicola Scales, founder and president of PPAWS, added.

Once the group has enough for the van, it plans to recruit Cambodian assistant vets who have been trained by Agrovet Cambodia. Since it began fundraising four months ago, PPAWS has collected $6,000, half of which has come from Australian Phnom Penh resident Charlie Christie, who has used the crowdfunding website Indiegogo.

“It is also to educate people about why it is so important to desex animals, about animal rights, about how to treat animals respectfully and not to harm them,” Christie said.

PPAWS is looking for more donations for the a mobile vet van, email Nicola Scales at [email protected]

MOST VIEWED

  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in

  • Angkor provides ‘valuable’ water storage

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has stored millions of cubic metres of water at reservoirs in the Angkor area after Cambodia experienced a series of rainstorms over the last few days. The storing of the water, besides serving temple conservation, will also be used to

  • PM urges caution as Polish man tests positive for Covid

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported that a 47-year-old Polish man tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Cambodia on Monday. There are a total of six Covid-19 patients currently in the country, all of whom are being treated at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital

  • Banteay Meanchey floods kill one more as death toll reaches 15

    As floodwaters start to recede in Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces and Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey continues to bear the brunt as one more person was killed on Monday, bringing the total number of flood-related deaths to 15 in the province this month. Banteay Meanchey provincial

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from