© Baan Unrak Thai Animal Sanctuary

Updated February 10th, 2020



As well as providing a free veterinary clinic, the Thai Animal Sanctuary's mission is to improve quality of life in the long-term for our resident dogs & cats, local street animals and house-pets alike. Running humane sterilization and vaccination programs as well as educating locals about issues of animal welfare helps us in our goal to raise awareness and promote compassion for all living beings.


None of this could be achieved without the generous and vital support of our donors and hard-working volunteers, who keep the sanctuary running day-to-day. With your help, we aim to provide a lifeline for Thailand's animals and encourage long-term change in human-animal relationships for many years to come.


The concept of Thai Animal Sanctuary began after a British traveler, Gemma Ashford, came to Thailand in 2007. Arriving as a volunteer teacher in the little known town of Sangklaburi, Gemma was shocked by the state of the Burmese refugee children she was due to teach. 

This, however, paled in comparison to the plight of the street dogs she found scavenging in the town market.  These dogs bore every mark of abuse - some limping, others bearing open and festering wounds. Many of the dogs carried diseases such as distemper and rabies.  Months of teaching lay ahead of her, but now the spark to help was ignited. 

With a little funding generously donated by the Humane Society, Gemma began by feeding as many of the street dogs as she could. When that funding ran out, Gemma committed to continuing what she had started - helping the dogs as much as she could.  Relying on small donations from family & friends as well as fundraising, Gemma was able to start buying medical supplies and food for the animals. With land donated by the Baan Unrak School, the sanctuary was born. Word eventually spread that someone was helping dogs in the region and people started bringing the now infamous “farang ma” or “foreign dog lady” an increasing number of sick and injured animals.

Since then Baan Unrak Thai Animal Sanctuary has continued to grow. With the help of visiting volunteer vets, international volunteers, and a hardworking management team, we are able to improve the lives of countless animals in this remote region.

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The Early Days...