Dogs Banned From Angkor Park Temples

Dogs will no longer be allowed in­side temples in Angkor Park, and pet owners bringing in their animals will be fined and have their pet con­fiscated, Siem Reap Provincial Gov­ernor Sou Phirin said Sunday.

The decision was made Thurs­day during his meeting with the gov­ernment agency Apsara Au­thor­ity, which manages Angkor, and the Interior Ministry’s heritage police, Sou Phirin said.

“I have notified all hotels and guest­houses last week that we don’t permit any kind of dogs to tour the temples,” he said. When dogs leave excrement inside a Budd­­hist temple, he said, “This is not good for our culture.”

Police stations throughout the park have been enforcing the ban since Saturday, said Tan Chay of the heritage police.

The rule applies to all dogs, whether they belong to tourists or vil­lagers living in the park.

Even police patroling at night are not allowed to bring their dogs in­side the temples anymore, he said.

Up to now, visitors traveling with their dogs would sometimes take them along to tour the temples, said Seung Kong, deputy director of Apsara Authority. “Some foreigners regard their dogs as family,” he said.

The pets of the 27,000 villagers liv­ing in Angkor Park never climb the temples, said Tek Sakana Sa­vuth of the NGO Angkor Par­tici­pa­tory Development Organization, which works with the 20 villages in the park. He added that he agreed with the ban.

In the past, villagers who brought their cows to graze near the temples would bring their dogs along, he said. But since Apsara Authority pro­hibited them from bringing cattle to the temples in 2000, villagers’ dogs don’t come near the temples, he said.

This ban is the latest in a series of park regulation developments in re­cent weeks. In August, a tuk-tuk protest over an Apsara Authority de­cision to bar tuk-tuks, taxis and mini-buses from taking visitors di­rectly to the temples ended with Prime Minister Hun Sen reversing the decision.

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