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Homeless hounds in summit net

Bangkok, Sept. 8 (Reuters): Amid loud yelps and gnashing teeth, Bangkok dog catchers began rounding up homeless hounds today as Thailand’s capital spruces itself up for an Asia-Pacific summit next month.

With more than 100,000 stray dogs in Bangkok alone, city officials are focusing their meagre manpower on key tourist sites and venues for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

“We don’t want these dogs to embarrass our leaders. We’re catching them and taking them up country,” said city official Sompop Chatraporn, who heads a team of 70 canine catchers.

Armed with burlap nets fixed to long wooden polls, Sompop’s men snatched about 40 dogs snoozing under cars, hiding in parks and loitering outside busy shops today.

“Don’t catch him, don’t catch him! He’s blind,” pleaded a sympathetic woman as one ageing hound was chased by city workers who can earn up to 30 baht ($0.75) per stray.

Younger, more street-wise dogs slipped through the dragnet. “They have this instinct when they see us coming in the truck, they run away,” said Sompop.

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