Chhimi Dema

Residents of Phobjikha and Gangtey, who lived with stray dog problems, are expecting the nationwide accelerated dog population management (NADPM) and rabies control programme (RCP) to address dog issue in the community.

For the last few years, residents had been raising safety and hygiene concerns about increasing stray dog population in the communities.

Stray dogs also attacked domestic animals and posed risk to the residents.

The programme was launched last year to achieve 100 percent sterilisation of free-roaming dogs, register, and vaccinate all pet dogs, and control feral dogs.

Gangtey Gup Kinley Gyeltshen said that in the past, stray dogs from other places were dropped at Lawla, who then walked to the two gewogs and increased the dog population.

“The stray dogs feed on frail or dead horses in the field and then look for similar prey such as calves and sheep,” he said.

Gup Kinley Gyeltshen said the community will be safer with the neutering and vaccination activities of the dog population management programme.

Last year, a pack of free-roaming dogs entered a pigsty and killed a piglet and injured one piglet in Gangtey.  Even the endangered Black-necked cranes often fall victim to packs of dogs.

However, a farmer from Phobjikha, Passang, said the number of stray dogs has decreased compared to a few years ago.

“The gewog livestock extension and the NADPM’s sterilisation programme is proving beneficial in reducing the dog population,” he said.

Locals said that increasing waste in the gewogs from campers leaving behind waste and hotels serve as a food source for the dogs.

Pema, 53, from Phobjikha, said that dogs feed on waste and loiter around posing risk to young children and domestic animals. “Some dogs even snarl at people, and tackle calves.”

The programme recorded 4,006 dogs in Wangdue dzongkhag during a survey.