Thailand's Stray Dogs are Fighting Crime With CCTV Vests

Stray dogs are being put to use in Thailand
Stray dogs are being put to use in Thailand | © pxhere
Photo of Kyle Hulme
23 April 2018

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a very good boy. From troublesome pests to heroes in vests, Thailand’s notorious soi dogs are fighting crime and helping to clean up the same streets they call home.

Agency’s solution to a woof problem

You might have heard of Guardians of the Galaxy, but Thailand’s dog have launched their own careers as guardians of the alleyways, thanks to the help of an advertising agency in the country. While Thailand struggles to find a solution to the stray dog problem in its cities, Cheil advertising agency used came up with a creative solution to turn one problem into a solution to another.

Stray dogs are being put to use in Thailand | © pxhere

By working with the Phuket-based Soi Dogs Foundation to fit stray dogs with a rather fetching vest—equipped with a camera—Cheil hopes to turn the usual doggy delinquents into pillars of the community by watching and recording what happens on the streets at night, helping to fight crime and make people feel safer in their homes.

Barking up the right tree

As anxious as we’d all be to see a video that shows a day in the life of a stray dog in Bangkok, that isn’t how it works. Rather than recording all the time, the cameras only begin to record once the dog starts to bark in a certain way. Cheil noted that dogs use different barks for different situations, and programmed their cameras to only start filming once a more aggressive barking tone was registered.

Strays in Bangkok | © David Villa / Flickr

Once triggered, the camera on the offending dog will livestream a video of what’s happening direct to mobile devices, where people who signed up for alerts can see exactly what’s going on. Having only started in March 2017, the jury is still out as to whether or not our furry friends can be trusted to be a pooch police force, but it makes for an interesting experiment.

From fighting crime to fighting culls

Unfortunately, fighting crime isn’t the only problem that stray dogs in Thailand have to worry about. The last few weeks has seen an increase in hysteria towards an as-yet unfounded rabies epidemic, with news reports citing an increase in the number of wild animals testing positive for the disease. Culls have reportedly taken place in cities all over Thailand, as people are reacting to a problem that there’s little real evidence to suggest even exists.

A very good boy keeping the streets safe | © Ryosuke Yagi / Flickr

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