Animal abuse stories are gut-wrenching. Beyond the horror of seeing a living being tortured, there’s an element of betrayal. The human owner is expected to love and provide for the animals. Their welfare becomes the human’s responsibility. When this trust is betrayed, it leaves the animal not only physically but psychologically damaged. Many are never able to trust a human again. Some of these rescue stories have a happy ending, with the neglected animal finding a loving new home. This story, however, has not just a happy ending, but a Cinderella one at that. These rescued Great Danes get a new shot at life.
Thirteen Abandoned Great Danes
Animal rescuers from Watchdog Thailand and the Pathum Thani Livestock Development Office’s Animal Welfare Division raided a dog breeding farm that had been reported to be abandoned by the owner. Their search led them to a brutal scene.
Thirteen Great Danes were trapped in cages, starved, emaciated, and stripped of their breeds’ natural magnificence. Ribs and vertebrae protrude through their thinning fur. Three other dogs, a mother and her two pups, had died before help arrived.
The owner, a middle-aged woman whose name has not been disclosed, had told veterinarian Kangwan Thirathamrong that she planned to raise the dogs and sell them. When they didn’t, her financials suffered since she was unemployed. She insisted she has never hurt the dogs. The breeding facility was shut down during her divorce, and she soon neglected the home, farm, and the dogs in their cages without any food.
A relative who lived nearby reported the abandoned dogs to Watchdog Thailand, as she pitied the Great Danes’ horrible conditions. The relative told housekeeper Nui, 50, to look after the property after the woman’s abandonment. Nui later helped with the rescue. 
Some of the rescued dogs were too weak to stand, nearly on the brink of death. The cages were filthy from weeks of not being cleaned. The volunteers helped them into their vehicles and sped them to the nearest vet. The tortured animals were examined and cared for and offered food for the first time in weeks.
“All of the rescued dogs require further care for recovery in the animal center. Then, we’ll see if the owner is financially ready to take them back but if not, we’ll look for any dog lovers who are willing to look after them,” said the vet.
Watchdog Thailand shared the photos of the thin animals on August 19, and Facebook users have shared them over 47,000 times and donated to the cause. 
The Royal Treatment
Most who heard of these dogs’ plight became indignant, but no one as much as the King of Thailand Rama X. He adopted the dogs and funded their veterinary treatment, food, and any other needs.
“His Majesty has kindly adopted these dogs and they will be taken care of at the bureau’s dog care center after they recover their health,” Department of Livestock Development deputy director-general Somchuan Rattanamangkhalanon said on Wednesday. 
All 13 dogs — five males and eight females from the ages of five months to two years — were picked up by Animal husbandry officers from the Bureau of the Royal Household. The officers brought them to Kasetsart University’s animal hospital where they will continue to be treated and fed until they are back to their proper weight.
“Long live the king. With all my heart, I wish you to be healthy,” said Watchdog Thailand in a social media post. 
Meanwhile, as the police investigate this case, the former owner of the Great Danes is facing charges under the Cruelty Prevention and Welfare of Animal Act.
What You Can Do to Stop Animal Cruelty
Every state in the U.S. and most other countries have laws and organizations to protect animals, but individuals can make a difference to an abused animal’s life. In fact, these programs rely on regular citizens to report any abuse they see. Like the skeletal Great Danes who were saved by the owner’s relative alerting Watchdog Thailand, you can make a difference as well.
There are multiple subcategories of animal abuse: These include:
- Neglect – failing to provide basic needs for the animal
- Direct abuse – physically beating or attacking an animal
- Lack of veterinary care when there’s an obvious need
- Inadequate shelter in extreme weather
- Chained outside and exposed to predators and elements
- Abandonment – Keep an eye on recently vacated residence since it’s common for owners to leave their pets behind.
- Left in cars – Report this situation immediately since every second counts.
- Organized cruelty – including animal fighting and blood sports
If you notice any of these situations, don’t look away. You can save an animal’s life with just a phone call. If you don’t know your local animal control agencies, call emergency and they’ll take care of your report. 
- “15 skeletal Great Danes are ‘adopted’ by the king of Thailand after they are discovered close to death at abandoned breeding farm.” Daily Mail. Ryan Fahey. August 21, 2019.
- Watchdog Thailand
- “13 emaciated Great Danes rescued from abandoned breeding farm in Thailand.” AOL. Alex Lasker.August 22, 2019.
- “King of Thailand Adopts 13 Starved Great Danes Found Near Death at Breeding Farm.” The Animal Rescue Site. Andrea Powell.
- The Humane Society. Report animal cruelty