relatable (CC0), Pixabay
Street dogs have a difficult time in Thailand. They are often seen as a plague and are hanging on to life from one scrap of food to the next. Thus, it is never a good time to be a street dog.
Every year there are more that 70,000 dogs born on the streets of Thailand’s cities. Cruel measures such as poisoning or even crueler measures are used to decrease their numbers.
Thailand also has other problems such as crime which is mostly against foreign visitors. Its biggest cities, Bangkok, Pattaya, and Phuket are teeming with tourists who are victims of crimes
The idea is that one big problem may actually be the solution to another.
The idea to create a mass surveillance system that would cover the whole urban environment seems like a great idea, by arming the street dogs with cameras.
In March 2017, the concept was developed by the Cheil advertising agency which is a subsidiary of South Korea’s Samsung Electronics. In partnership with a dog rescue organization called the Soi Dog Foundation, the group has been arming stray dogs with tiny hidden cameras installed in vests that the dogs wear.
The power of a bark
According to Pakornkrit Khantaprap, a member of the team that came up with the idea, and told to Reuters, “We wanted to come up with a tool that would show the benefits of these dogs and make (people) feel that stray dogs can be night-watchers, so that’s where the idea of making them watchdogs for communities came from.” “We think that the stray dogs aren’t going to be that different (to a house dog)”
The cameras only start recording and streaming video to the screens of authorities when the host dog barks in a certain way that’s considered frantic. It means that video is not captured all the time, just maybe when there is an unusual bark of a surprised dog.
The unusual bark of a surprised dog could be just because a dog is getting too close to another dog’s territory, or a mugging, or a murder.
Its possible that there could be a few false hits to that monitoring system. The so-called “Smart Vests,” unveiled only last year, have so far only been used as prototypes.
The street dogs are daily victims of a society that treats the stray dogs as pests. The idea is probably most effective in its potential for saving stray dog’s lives, and a long way from taking an actual bite out of crime.
Khantaprap adds, “It will make people feel that stray dogs can become night-watches for the communities.”
These camera-toting canines might even go from zero to hero in the blink of an eye by becoming the night-watchers, and ingratiating themselves with the locals.