Siriraj suspends medical student over alleged puppy killing

Dr Prasit Watanapa (third left), dean of Siriraj Hospital‘s Medicine Faculty, speaks at a press conference at the hospital on the future of a medical student allegedly involved in drugging at least one puppy for compensation coverage. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

The Medicine Faculty of Siriraj Hospital has temporarily suspended a student after allegations that he drugged at least one dog to death for money.

The faculty said in a statement released on Monday that the decision took immediate effect until an internal investigation and a police probe were concluded.

The decision was reached at a meeting of faculty committee members led by dean Prasit Watanapa with sixth-year student Phattarapong Songsapkul and his parents.

The faculty of Siriraj Hospital is a network of Mahidol University‘s medical schools.

Dr Prasit called an urgent meeting after the student was suspected of killing at least one Pomeranian puppy with drug overdoses to profit from compensation coverage from a pet transport firm.

The faculty will set up a panel to look into his ethics, monitor his mental rehabilitation and follow a police investigation.

All could lead to the expulsion of the student from the college, the statement said.

“If he is found guilty in a final judicial ruling, Mahidol University will be proposed to terminate his student status,” it said.

The statement indicated that the student was receiving mental treatment.

Mr Phattarapong has faced complaints at two police stations in different locations so far.

One complaint on animal cruelty was filed on Saturday by the provincial office of the Livestock Development Department at Pho Klang police station in Nakhon Ratchasima‘s Muang district on Saturday.

The complaint was lodged after he allegedly overdosed a dog while taking it to the Centre Pet Hospital in the province. The student demanded compensation from the driver of the pet transport firm but he refused to pay and demanded an autopsy. It turned out to be a foul play.

HSK Express International and Service Co, another delivery company, and Watchdog Thailand, an animal protection advocacy group, lodged separate complaints at Sutthisan police station for attempted fraud and animal cruelty.

The complaint in Bangkok came after the student ed HS Express in July to transport a seven-month-old Pomeranian to Ban Moh Ton, an animal hospital also in Nakhon Ratchasima. He requested insurance coverage worth 40,000 baht after the pet died.

A conviction for animal cruelty carries a jail term of up to two years and/or a fine of up to 40,000 baht.

Sutthisan police chief Pol Col Termpao Siriphuban said a summon had been sent to Mr Phattarapong at his home address in Nakhon Ratchasima and at the faculty.

He has been ordered to meet police by next Monday and the investigation still focused on fraud charges as investigators had no solid evidence on animal cruelty allegations.

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