September 2, 2014
Sustainable Street Dog Population Control in Bhutan
by Antoinette Bradley and Keren Nazareth
From the beginning, it has been HSI’s intention that our street dog program in Bhutan would eventually become self-sustaining—managed entirely by the Bhutanese themselves, guided by the best practices we’ve been sharing. Now, in the final year of our five-year engagement with that country, our vision is coming to fruition.
In August, Thimphu Thromde and the Department of Livestock signed a three-year Memorandum of Understanding for a Community Animal Birth Control Program—a commitment from both to ongoing humane dog population management in the capital city.
Initiatives they promised to maintain:
- Every Tuesday, Thimphu Thromde will observe “Tuesday—Love your Dog Day,” when dog owners will be able to bring their pets and community dogs to the National Animal Hospital for a free health check, sterilization and anti-rabies vaccination.
- Every Friday, dogs will be humanely caught using the latest technology and brought to the National Animal Hospital for sterilization and vaccination, then released back to where they were found.
- Once a year, the National Animal Hospital (Department of Livestock) and Thimphu Thromde will conduct a month-long mass sterilization and vaccination program.
- They will conduct regular surveillance of the free-roaming dog population to ensure numbers remain on the decline and that Thimphu Thromde is a city where the community can live in harmony with fewer dogs and without fear.
The MoU signing took place in true Bhutanese fashion at the launch of the second annual mass sterilization and vaccination program, with a grand celebration that featured cultural performances and prize-giving for an “I Love Dogs” picture competition.
It is expected that other Thromdes (administrative regions) across the country will soon sign similar MoUs.
Thimphu Thromde and Bhutan are setting the right example for other cities and countries to follow by taking a proactive, consistent and multi-faceted approach using HSI’s proven methods. Governments still using cruel techniques to uselessly cull these animals should take note.