Thai cops probe medical student alleged to have poisoned pet dog to claim compensation

BANGKOK (THE NATION/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A police investigation has begun into a Thai medical student who allegedly killed his dog to claim compensation from a transport company.

Mahidol University in Thailand has confirmed that the medical student studies there and that they are also investigating the matter.

The investigations concern allegations, including some made through Facebook postings last week that went viral, that a Mahidol University medical student had poisoned his pomeranian dog with human medicine in an effort to claim compensation from a transport company.

A Nakhon Ratchasima veterinarian came forward on Facebook to allege that the student asked her to write a fake death certificate for his dog.

The Provincial Livestock Office on Saturday (Sept 9) filed a complaint with police to launch a formal investigation into the accusations.

Pasawee Somjai, head of Nakhon Ratchasima Provincial Livestock Office, said that the provincial livestock officer, who is tasked with upholding the Cruelty Prevention and Welfare of Animals Act, had already reported the matter to police and asked them to investigate whether the law had been violated.

"It is the duty of the police now to find evidence to prove that the student really killed his dog for compensation," said Pasawee. "If the police find out that he really did it, he will be prosecuted in the court."

The case was filed at Phoklang Police Station, near the veterinary clinic where the student allegedly asked for a fake death certificate.

Phoklang Police Station investigative officer Pol Major Mongkol Kuptsirirat said that police had taken on the case and would summon veterinarian Anongnart Sutham for interrogation, along with the dog's owner and the transport company.

Sutham, suspicious of the owner's request to write a death certificate for presentation to the transport company to claim compensation for the dog's death, conducted an autopsy on the dead dog and discovered drugs in its stomach. Police will examine the drugs, said Mongkol.

"The investigation of this case will take some time, depending on the cooperation of the dog's owner and the transport company," Mongkol said. "If the dog's owner does not comply with the police, we will issue a warrant. We assure people that the investigation will be transparent and fair."

Meanwhile, a Nakhon Ratchasima reporter has visited another vet clinic that claimed it had faced a similar situation involving the same medical student.

Clinic owner Kreauwan Raksasap told the reporter that the medical student had hired a transport company to bring a seven-month-old pomeranian dog to the clinic for care. The owner said he would return later to take the dog home.

Kreauwan was quoted as saying that at first the dog seemed healthy, but after an hour it was sick and later died, so she called the owner to notify him of the dog's death. The owner then asked for compensation of Bt40,000 (S$1,620) from the transport company, but the company refused, saying they had safely transported the dog to the clinic.

Kreauwan told the reporter that the dog's owner then turned to the clinic and asked them to pay compensation along with the transport company. The clinic had refused to pay because it had merely allowed the dog to rest at the clinic and had not treated it in any way.

After failing to get compensation, the dog's owner had left in a fury, the reporter was told.

Mahidol University has, meanwhile, confirmed that the medical student is studying there, adding that the dean of the Faculty of Medicine had already summoned him for interrogation.

Dr Panthep Rattanakorn, dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Science, said that if it were to be found that this student was guilty, the university would punish him according to university rules.