American pensioner, 73, sparks animal welfare concerns with 49 pet Ridgeback dogs
An American pensioner was furious after animal rescuers reported him to the police for allegedly neglecting his dogs that were found in filthy conditions.
Jackson Sterling, 73, contacted the dog rescue organisation Watchdog Thailand for help taking care of his 49 Thai Ridgeback dogs in Chiang Mai province.
However, the rescuers became suspicious after they arrived at his home and were shocked by the allegedly filthy living conditions.
They claim that had the dogs were crammed into tiny cages with many of them getting sick without proper nutrition.
Staff reportedly tried to urge the pensioner, also known as Jack Sterling, to give up the custody of 20 dogs so he would have sufficient time and resources to take care of the remaining animals.
But the hard-headed pensioner refused so the staff reported him to the police and accused him of animal abuse.
Footage from July 2 afternoon shows the pensioner furiously insulting the staff for reporting him to the police and insisted that they were lying.
One of the rescue team, Woraya Bamrungpong, said they have been trying to remove the dogs from his care for several months already and they decided to report him again after they saw the latest condition of the animals.
She said: "We have been receiving complaints about this American man for a long time. Neighbours claim he is smuggling and breeding the Thai Ridgeback dogs to sell in foreign countries.
"Then he recently contacted us to help him provide food for his dogs but when we visited the place, we believe that he is only neglecting them.''
Woraya added that the charity wanted to take the dogs to the vets and remove them from the American.
However, the pensioner insisted that he had not abandoned his dogs or bred them for sale.
He said: "I used to have only a few of them before they bred and gave many offspring and since this dog breed is aggressive I had to put them in the cage to prevent them from fighting each other or chasing the neighbours.
"I also hired workers to clean their cages and feed them but they have gone back to their homeland during the spread of the pandemic and could not return.
"I suffer from several chronic diseases which has caused me to be unable to take care of them all so I contacted the organisation for help but they stabbed me in the back.
"They took my dogs and forced me to sign the document to give them the custody and then pressed charges against me."
The police at the station had to stop the two parties from fighting before they ordered the American to bring a medical certificate to prove he is unwell.
Police Lieutenant Colonel Noppadol Pimansivilai said: "Initially, we have written the reports from the two parties and will begin the investigation soon.
"However, we also need the medical certification from the American to support his claim about his chronic disease."