We are faced with new challenges—of the modern day Bhutan. Development is good, but how well we manage the change is, not quite.

The rising population of stray dogs has been one of the major problems facing the country. It continues to be a serious problem. Controlling dog population now features even on national budget schemes. That it is going to be a flagship national programme says it all.

We are now compelled to face the problem of stray horses getting into the farmers’ gardens. Once the important mode of transport for the Bhutanese, especially in the rural parts of the country, the horses are today increasingly becoming a nuisance.

How do we manage them—the stray horses? Ought we to conduct mass sterilisation for the horses like we do with the dogs twice or thrice every year? What are the chances that we might even succeed?

Bhutanese villages are now fast growing into small towns. Roads have reached every nook and cranny of the country. With increased Internet connectivity, traditional modes of relaying messages have become redundant.

The problem seems to stem from the same negligence on the part of people. Controlling the stray dog population is a challenge still because of the irresponsibility on the part of pet owners. Now the problem has grown, literally.

Pointing fingers at each other will not help. We cannot blame the highlanders for letting their animals lose because they no longer need them. But then, we also cannot accuse of the administrative units and offices for not doing enough.

Let’s think about impounding the animals, again. It has never worked. That, however, does not mean that the problems will go away easily. Somewhere along the planning process, we are getting it all wrong. Long-term thinking is hard to come by these days.

But the problem is real. As if we are not done with the problem of straying young people, we have now to contend with animals. The question really is about choice. You get it once or never.

Are we forgetting the nitty-gritty in the planning?