The reign of the dogs has been long, but not alone is this a problem. It is becoming stronger. The rise in the number of stray dogs in the country is a thing to be worried about.

A survey conducted between June and July this year indicates that Bhutan could have close to 200,000 stray dogs, maybe even more. This is almost half the country’s human population. This is a safe bet allowing for the reach the survey could have fallen short.

The survey also found that the stray dogs in Thimphu did not carry canine transmissible venereal tumors. But what about the stray dogs in other parts of Bhutan?

Sterilisation programmes have been a success, but it has not helped reduce the number of stray dog population in the country.

Another report has found that at least 12 dog bite cases are reported at Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital in Thimphu. There is a good chance that the hospitals in other dzongkhags deal with almost the same dog bite cases. Maybe even more.

The rising stray dog population has become a menace that needs to be dealt with urgently. Tourists have been complaining about stray dogs for a long time. Our people are increasingly finding it difficult to cope with the problem.

Animal health division is currently working on a strategy to manage the dog population in the country. It highlights change of attitude and behaviour of the people and emphasises on reinforcing policies and legislation, animal birth control, and habitat control.

But the fact is that the stray dog population is increasing with all the interventions we have employed. The control mechanism we must resort to finally is euthanasia or mercy killing of stray dogs, particularly the ones with disease and danger to the human population.

There will be many squeamish individuals ready to reject or shoot the idea down in flames because killing or putting an end to life is un-Buddhist. Such thinking, however, will not solve the problem. And we cannot just wish the problem away.

Dog problem is a serious problem. We can ill afford to be hypocrites. Stray dog population has to be brought under control.