Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Dogs Place Is In Bhutan

Bhutan a country situated in the Himalayan range is a deeply Buddhist country. As Buddhism teaches non-killing of lives, the general Bhutanese refrain from killing animals and even insects. This has led to the rapid growth in the number of stray dogs.

City corporation officials of Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan admit that growing dog population is becoming a problem across the country. Phuntsho Gyeltshen, executive secretary of Thimphu City Corporation, said that there were about 7,000 dogs in Thimphu alone. In 2005, the total dog population in Bhutan stood at around 50,000 while the government had only 22 veterinarians. "Two years back, the dog population was exploding since we, as Buddhists, cannot kill dogs," "But in the last two years there had been no increase in the number of canines. This is because the livestock department and the city authorities had taken measures to limit its population, Gyeltshen said. "We operate upon the dogs, both male and female, for mass sterilisation," said Gyeltshen. "If we don't take measures now, it will be a big problem in future," he said, adding that 50 percent of dogs in Thimphu had already been sterilised.

The Humane Society International, an NGO, is providing technical support for the programme. "We go for sterilisation of both male and female dogs as only vasectomy of male may not work," said Gyeltshen. He said the surgeons cut the ear of dogs in V-shape so that they can identify the sterile dogs and bitches. Bhutanese officials told that the authorities took up sterilization programme in the 1970's, but it was not very successful. Similar programmes were undertaken in 1991, but it did not work. The officials, however, did not explain why the programme didn't work.

Bhutan's main newspaper Kuensel in 2008 wrote that the programme largely failed because the government did not continue sterilization on a regular basis. "The programmes have been very sporadic and uncoordinated," said the newspaper quoting an Australian veterinary expert Dr Ian H Douglas. Bhutanese officials admit the stray dogs pose threats to health too. The ministry of foreign affairs in its reports says on an average the country see nine cases of rabies, a disease mainly caused by dog bites, every year. In a report in 2005-2006, the ministry reported outbreak of rabies in eastern Bhutan for the first time in a decade, indicating that rabies is re-emerging as a public health problem, which would have consequences for the economy.


Anonymous said...

I am a volunteer teacher in Bhutan on my third years. It was quite blessing that I didn't get bitten by stray dog until recently. A little unfortunate but still blessing that the wound wasn't too serious, the only concern is the virus from the dog. I was quite surprise to know from the thimphu hospital that everyday they are handling more than 20 cases of dogs bitten victims. Is this number too low for the the authority to look into the problem? When I ask around, it seems that 2 out of 5 persons had bad experiences with the stray dogs, and yet life still goes on........those stray dogs still enjoy their happiness all over the places they wonder around and expressing their emotion when ever they feels. I am just wondering is this part of the culture of "happiness" ? Happiness seems to observe even within strays dogs.