Just over 15 years ago owner and founder Julie Kovacs founded a Thai cooking school to share with tourists her love for Thai cuisine on the not so small island of Koh Lanta, to the south of Krabitown and Krabi airport. Her cooking school offered her a great introduction to working and living in Thailand while also sharing the joy and love of cooking with others, it was a change for her life, a change for her mind and her perspective on how to live.
The change was well met for her as she came directly from Norway and the high paced and tiring lifestyle in the Western world. Instead she began living in her kitchen looking out to the beach every day, enjoying stunning sunsets over the horizon and sharing with guests the joys and complexities of Thai cuisine. this change in her lifestyle ushered it many new chapters, some of them difficult and others wonderful, like the many storms which literally destroyed her kitchen and working area. No matter the challenge though, she always bounced back and quickly found solutions.
in 2004 when Junie’s cooking school ‘Time for Lime” was founded there was little in terms of tourism on Koh Lanta. The island enjoyed only a short 3-4 month ‘high season’ and for the rest of the year the islands drifted into a soft slumber, preparing for the next season when waves of European, American and Australian visitors would come back to the island. During this down time in between seasons Junie began to notice something that bothered her. There was a large population of stray dogs and cats found on the side of roads throughout the island. They were everywhere and their numbers continued to grow year after year. The primary reason for their growth in number of stray dogs and cats was due to a lack of education on the part of the owners to spay and neuter their animals when they had the chance. Often a pet dog or cat would be roaming free and get pregnant then the owners didn’t, or couldn’t take care of the offspring so they would be set them loose to fend for themselves and therefore grow the stray population.
Junie recognised this issue and immediately decided to take action.
Now that Koh Lanta is a relatively small island and the stray dogs and cats issue was in all of the hotels best interest to address the issue before it got out of hand. for Junie to find local support to start a shelter and clinic was met with positive reactions among the local hotels and tourist outfits in the area. Her own cooking school decided to divert 100% of it’s profits to fund the new shelter called ‘Lanta Animal Welfare’. It took over 3 years to raise enough money to get the shelter started but as soon as it was built there was a surge in activity, both in terms of people who wanted to visit and volunteer at the shelter and international support for what Junie and her team were doing to improve the lives of the local animals.
Offering people a place they could bring their dogs and cats on there island in order to spay or neuter them was a service which was much needed, but it wasn’t utilised enough. So Lanta Animal Welfare’s team began going out and catching stray dogs on the beach, bringing them back to the clinic where their would be neutered and offered a place for recovery and then sent back out into the wild. this practice worked wonders and now you will be hard pressed to find a stray dog or cat on the island. Soon after Lanta Animal Welfare opened, the incidents of harm and mistreatment towards stray animals was an issue where there was simply no place to bring hurt or injured animals. Lanta Animal Welfare filled this gap as well and opened it’s doors to treating and healing these unfortunate animals. After their recovery these dogs and cats were put up for adoption giving people living abroad (or locally) the chance to take in a homeless animals and give it a second chance at a new life.
The program has been growing and growing over the years, now there is a volunteer staff of over 15 people and a permanent staff of 5. There are numerous trips and events Lanta Animal Welfare goes out on, rounding up stray dogs and cats and sterilising them in a hope to cull future homeless generations. Just last year a mobile clinic was setup in Ao Nang and over 200 animals were sterilised over only 4 days. It’s a testament to the team at Lanta Animal Welfare, their dedication to what they do and how they do it. To date Lanta Animal Welfare is responsible for sterilising over 15,000 stray animals.
Now Lanta Animal Welfare has taken a new approach and they is to focus on education for the local population, offering school outings to many of the islands local schools, teaching the children about responsible animal ownership and actually offering free sterilisation to an students snails as long as the student brings the animal themselves.
This program along with almost all of the other programs Lanta Animal Welfare has arranged has been a major success and continues to help the island and its inhabitants.
If we can change the mindset of the future generation we have a chance of solving the issue at it’s core
With it’s recent expansion Lanta Animal Welfare is now hoe to a brand new facility for it’s feline population, aptly named ‘Kitty City’. With the new Kitty City there is a safe and comfortable place for up to 50 cats to rest, lounge and be in a safe place, while they all wait their turn to be adopted. The facility also offers a new cafe and gift shop where guests can buy all kinds of goods directly supporting the work that goes on at Lanta Animal Welfare. The new Kitty City also offers the opportunity for school groups to visit the facility to see first hand about what goes on at Lanta Animal Welfare. This is Junie’s hope to decamp these school outings on a more regular basis.
If your interested in supporting the work that goes on at Lanta Animal Welfare or just come for a visit please visit their website:
or call them directly:
International: +66 – 843 – 044 – 331