The goal was to end the suffering of hundreds of homeless, abused and injured animals on the island of Koh Lanta. That’s why, in 2007, Junie Kovacs founded the first centre of its kind in the Krabi province and the only vet clinic in the area for miles; Lanta Animal Welfare. The positive effects of the centre can be seen throughout the island which continues to improve thanks to the donations of visitors from around the world.
This wasn’t always the case. When Junie visited the island almost 20 years ago she experienced the horrors of overpopulation in a secluded area. The number of strays was so high that beaches and streets were full of dying, diseased animals. She sold everything to move from Norway to Thailand and embark on an ambitious project.
The first thing she realised was that she couldn’t just take in animals, she had to do something to tackle the problem at its core. For this she needed vets, medicine and money. As well as a love of animals, Junie has always had a passion for cooking so she set-up the first Thai Cooking school on the island: Time for Lime. To this day, Time for Lime is the major sponsor for Lanta Animal Welfare (LAW) but in the beginning it was absolutely crucial and the only reason the centre you see today could have been built.
Soon the centre was bringing in animals for sterilizing, vaccinating and treating. Animals that were well enough were re-released where found and those that weren’t were kept at the centre. LAW continues to work in this way, with the addition of an international adoption programme which is so successful that last year the centre adopted over 140 animals, the majority of which went overseas. For each animal that is adopted, there is always another animal waiting to be rescued.
As the needs of the animals grow so does the centre and it is always in need of more funds to sustain it’s crucial work. To do this, Junie turned the centre into a place for locals and tourists alike to see and support the charity’s work. Anyone visiting LAW can relax in Kitty City with rescued cats while having a drink or bite to eat in Kitty Cafe. Tours run everyday, and are the best way to see the rescue dogs, behind the scene areas and learn how the centre functions. Some visitors may also have the chance to exercise the rescue dogs. Making a donation is easy and can be made on site in any currency or online. All proceeds from the souvenir shop and cafe go to the animals too. Even those who can’t adopt can still support any animal they fall in love with by becoming their sponsor.
A visit to Lanta Animal Welfare supports the treatment and care of animals like Andzrej
At less than a year old Andzrej was abandoned by his owners and forced to live on the streets, scavenging for food to survive. It was during this time that he ran into dog abusers armed with machetes, and was attacked brutally. LAW’s founder was there when they found him, shivering with fear and covered in blood. It was one of the worst cases of abuse she had ever seen.
He was rushed to the centre for treatment and the vets stopped at nothing to get him in the best shape possible. As his wounds healed so did his mind and now at 2 years of age Andzrej has recovered both physically and mentally. The trauma of his ordeal has faded away and he has transformed into a happy, fun-loving dog who is ready to be adopted. Andzrej is full of energy and looking for an active, affectionate forever home.
Rescues like this would not be possible without the support of people from around the world and their generous donations. These donations go towards the running of the centre including the centre’s sterilization and vaccination efforts that have ensured at least 80% of the cat and dog population on the island has been sterilized. As a result, there have been no cases of rabies in cats or dogs for over 20 years. The centre continues to grow with the support of its visitors and can now care for around 40 dogs and 50 cats.
Ocean has been at the centre for over 1,500 days
One of the long-term residents up for adoption is Ocean, a cat who was found in a cardboard box dumped at the front of the centre with 4 other tiny kittens. They were struggling to stay alive and without their mother the centre was their only hope. Thankfully they were found before the scorching heat of the midday sun became too much for them and LAW was able to take them in. In this case, all the kittens were nursed back to health and placed up for adoption. One by one Ocean’s brothers and sisters were discovered by visitors and flown to their new, loving forever homes. But quiet, gentle Ocean is still looking for his.
You can meet Ocean and Andzrej yourself! All adoptable animals are fully vaccinated, sterilized and put through the mandatory quarantine procedures for the countries they are flown to.
Lanta Animal Welfare is open from 9am – 5pm everyday of the year. The centre receives no government funding, so it’s people like you that give these animals their day-to-day care and emergency treatment.
Want to find out more? Come and join a tour! Information on visiting, adopting or sponsoring an animal can be found on the website: