BANGKOK — The country’s top medical university said Friday it was investigating a medical student for allegedly killing a dog to extort compensation from a shipping company.
The case emerged after veterinarian Jakkarin Riangngoen wrote online Thursday night to say his animal hospital in Nakhon Ratchasima province was asked by a shipping company to examine a 7-month-old Pomeranian who died while being transported from Bangkok. The company was deciding whether to meet the dog owner’s demand for 50,000 baht in compensation.
The company however was not convinced as the dog owner, a medical student, had sat with the Pomeranian in the front seat next to driver for the whole journey. The dog had also been sent for a check-up prior to traveling.
The student’s name has been omitted by all related parties for fear of legal consequences.
Veterinarian Anongnart Sutatham, Jakkarin’s wife, told reporters Friday the results of the examination surprised her. More than 10 tablets of medication were found in the small dog’s stomach. All were made for human maladies, such as blood pressure pills. The vet said she suspected foul play.
“I recalled when I saw a tablet of medicine inside the dog carrier bag, so I asked the owner whether the dog had eaten any medicine for people,” she said. “The owner said, ‘oh that is mine,’ and quickly threw it into the garbage.”
After finding the medications inside the dog’s stomach, she searched the bin to compare it to what had been tossed. It turned out to be the same type of medicine.
After Tuesday’s examination, Jakkarin added that the dog owner called him the next day to say the tablets were vitamins prescribed to the dog by a pet hospital in Bangkok.
Jakkarin said he later found out the shipping company received a fake medical report from the dog owner. Instead of overdose, the forged version said the dog died of shock during travel.
The dog owner demanded 50,000 baht in compensation.
Mahidol University said Friday the dog owner is a sixth-year medical student there. He was called in for questioning and will be punished if found to have intentionally killed his dog, school officials said.
School dean Prasit Watanapa told Voice TV he was initially told the student gave the dog medication to prevent travel sickness.
The case prompted concern among Thai netizens as the alleged killer was a future doctor.
Veterinarian Kanthasit Kansap of Nakhon Ratchasima Provincial Livestock Office said they were collecting information to decide if the dog owner should be charged under the 2014 Cruelty Prevention and Welfare of Animal Act.
Under the act, the neglect or torture of animals in punishable by up to two years in prison or a 40,000 baht fine.