Nationwide dog population management starts

From killing to relocating to impounding, Bhutan adopted various measures to control the dog population since 1970. But it is far from bringing in any major changes. The country still has more than 72,000 free-roaming dogs today. As per veterinary experts, the department of livestock in the past has faced human resource constraints in successfully implementing such programmes. However, today marks a day when more than a thousand people will get involved in managing the dog population and its related problems.

Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering launched the Nationwide Accelerated Dog Population Management (NADPM) and Rabies Control Programme (RCP) today.

With more than 72,000 free-roaming dogs in the country, this programme is expected to achieve 100 per cent sterilization coverage in the country within two weeks.

This time, it will be a whole nation approach involving the livestock department, more than a thousand Desuups and Local Government leaders among others.

“One of the most difficult parts of this programme is catching. So we have a manpower shortage. For this, DeSuups come in. So we have enough DeSuups to help us in catching dogs, managing their shelter, feeding, cleaning. This will make a big difference,” said Dr Kinley Dorji, the Team Leader for the NADPM&RCP.

In the last decade, the government and Humane Society International, an organisation that works to promote human-animal bonds, adopted a catch, neuter, vaccinate, and release programme. However, the number of dogs only increased over the years without much impactful result.

According to Dr Kinley, this happened because of a manpower shortage.“We had only a team that will go around the country. So by the time you come back, the dogs we missed will have bred and they will be grown up and even the puppies would have grown up and started breeding,” he said.

Speaking during the event, the Prime Minister asked officials involved in the programme to be careful about their own health. The Prime Minister also asked them to treat the dogs humanely.

“From the day dogs are caught to sterilize and after they are sterilized, giving them all necessary help is important,” the Prime Minister said.

In its first phase, the programme will kickstart in 11 districts and the remaining districts in the second phase. Through this programme, the country also aims to eliminate human deaths from rabies by 2030.

Samten Dolkar

Edited by Sonam

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