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The Indigo Pearl resort fights accusations for which there is no evidence

Phuket's Five-Star Dog Fight Leaves Facebook Posters Snarling

Monday, June 4, 2012
PHUKET: in an unusual Facebook slanging match, one of Phuket's best-known five-star resorts has rejected accusations of mistreating local stray dogs.

Paradoxically, Indigo Pearl Resort Phuket became embroiled in the online rumble on its own Facebook page, intended more for ''likes'' than pieces of hate mail.

Today an Indigo Pearl spokesperson denied the accusations. The resort tolerated local dogs, including strays, and had no reason to change its policy, the spokesperson said.

As of today, the resort appeared to be winning the ''dog fight.'' In the 21st century era of social media, more resorts are likely to find themselves in similar situations - public disputes that falsely inflame passions.

The latest post by Indigo Pearl on the resort's Facebook site says: ''Dear Fans, Indigo Pearl refutes all claims by Albert Ruswell concerning the welfare of stray dogs in the area of Nai Yang Beach and National Park. Social responsibility is at the core of Indigo Pearl's operation which protects and supports of all aspects of the local community including the welfare of animals. Kind Regards.''

A search on Facebook failed to produce an entry for an ''Albert Ruswell'' and the original post, said to accuse the resort of trucking local dogs away from the area and dumping them, could also not be found.

The posting, even pulled down after being posted by someone of uncertain identity, has produced people whose firm beliefs are not shaken by Indigo Pearl's unequivocal denial.

A correspondent named Tracy Harper writes: ''We live in Phuket and actually heard about these claims about 4 days before they were posted and not by Albert Ruswell (we have no idea who he is). So before you condemn him for having the guts to speak out, maybe one needs to think how he or anyone else would benefit from this if you think his claims are false. If you think things like this do not happen in Phuket then you walk around with rose tinted glasses. Over the past 10 days or so we have personally seen more dead dogs on the highway near Nai Yang than we have ever before. Unfortunately, many people and companies have the perception of out of sight, out of mind and they think it is okay to dispose of dogs in their own way. There is a major soi dog problem on the island that the Soi Dog foundation are trying to manage with the support of local people and businesses.''

There you go, guilt by association. Dogs are inclined to excite extreme emotions.

Tracy Harper was not dissuaded from posting by the more reasonable and logical Tiana Gooneratne, who wrote:

''All that we see on these posts is conjecture and people adding narrative to baseless claims. Why is everyone so quick to judge a hotel that does its utmost to look after their guests? If a fact was presented, fair enough. But we haven't seen indisputable facts.''

Indeed. The absence of facts didn't stop Rosemary Fanning from assuming the position of judge and jury: Are you (Indigo Pearl) refuting the allegations that your staff took or arranged for dogs who had been living in or around the resort to be taken to the main highway to meet a certain death in order to get rid of them? This is not clear in your vague post about social responsibility, and caring for the welfare of the community. The guests who stay with you obviously have no idea of the cruelty to animals, especially dogs and cats, in Thailand. I suggest that they look at the cases of deliberate abuse and abandonment on the Soi Dog Foundation Facebook page to see what can happen both inside and outside resorts - but always out of guest/tourist sight! I look forward to a post from Indigo Pearl with the results of their investigation, and the action they take, because these are serious allegations of animal cruelty, which must be publicly addressed.

More mellow and moderate thinking came Nikolay Pavlov: I am sorry, Rosemary Fanning, because I don't know whether or not you are a real person or just a facebook account made for some unknown reasons, but to me all those allegations look like organized attack towards Indigo Pearl. If you just look at the IP's facebook wall, you will see that some strange facebook accounts posting more or less same comments almost simultaneously, which actually never happens in real facebook conversation. I don't know who arranges this, but I know Indigo Pearl for many years and can say with great confidence that I don't believe in those allegations at all. I am sure that people who really know Indigo Pearl will support my opinion. People, please don't be fooled by some chat bots posting their comments from nowhere, just trust your own brain!

Some people, it seems, are never going to be satisfied. Christophe Kennis writes: Give the people what they want, just post a picture from your dogs and staff. You should have done that yesterday...so easy!? Helping people doesn't mean helping animals, Hitler was an animal lover!

The incident posed an alarming example of the ease with which some readers accept statements on Facebook as fact, whether or not there is supporting evidence. Expect a witch to be burned on Phuket any day now.

Comments

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Phuket hoteliers should get together and mass neuter and vaccinate all the stray dogs on the island. The only other solution is to have them all humanely destroyed. The packs of dogs (the four legged variety) outside resorts across the island are intimidating and dangerous. They do nothing for the island's image save reinforce the perception that the local administration care little for the welfare of animals or tourists. A armed dog warden with power to pick up stray dogs and fine "owners" who allow them to run free would also be a nice little earner.

Posted by Barry on June 4, 2012 14:32

Editor Comment:

Interesting that you think the hoteliers should take responsibility for the dogs outside their gates, but not the local taxis.

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Had to throw in the Hitler reference... is this Fox News!? Speaking of Stray dogs. At a guest house once stayed the caretaker and some of the guests would feed Soi Dogs right in front of the building. Most of the time it was OK but on occasion (weekly) the dogs would fight in front of the building quite viciously. A potentially dangerous situation for someone there at the wrong time. It this hotel does move the animals to other areas I'm sure that it's humane as possible and for the best welfare of it's paying customers and the community at large.

Posted by Ty on June 4, 2012 15:01

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Stray dogs are a nuisance and Thailand would do itself a big favor solving this problem...I like dogs but they are not people and I cannot see any problem in ending their lives if necessary ie if no owner claims them. Spending a lot of money on neutering and vaccinating dogs and keeping them alive I find a bit absurd as long as there are lots of poor people in Thailand that could use some help instead.

Posted by Bjarne on June 4, 2012 16:49

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I find it amusing in a macabre sort of way that people who have been here about 5 minutes are complaining about the soi dogs and the responsibility of resorts that have been here about the same amount of time, to remove same.
I have to commend PAWS and Soi Dogs for making Phuket a much nicer place to stay compared to the situation 20 years ago. There was one famous old dog without any hair, due to mange no doubt, that used to sleep in the middle of the Chalong Circle long before any circle was installed. Every single vehicle would drive around him without disturbing his sleep. Vale those days of a much simpler life here.

Posted by George on June 4, 2012 19:33

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If phuket employed dog catchers to pick ip all dogs roaming free the dogs could be kept for 7 days before bring destroyed.

If someone wants to claim the dog then they pay the weeks board and lodging fee plus a fee to have the animal neutered, vaccinated and chipped

The bleeding heart dog protectors could pop in anytime and rescue as many animals as the feel appropriate to assuage their karmic aspirations.

Posted by Barry on June 4, 2012 20:49


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