Chencho Dema 

Punakha – In what has become a problem both for cattle and motorists in Punakha, there is an increasing case of injuries caused to stray cattle from moving vehicles. In just one week, five incidents were reported. 

A majority of them succumbed to the injuries. Officials said the actual number could be higher, but many cases go unreported whenever drivers accidentally hit animals or see injured animals.

Local residents say most accidents involving free roaming animals occur either due to poor lighting on roads or because of over-speeding. 

Recently, a cow suspected to have been hit by a car was found dead and decomposing Lamperi. Nobody has claimed the body as of now. 

On the night of August 20, a cow near the Punakha central school was found injured. It died the next morning. Cows are not only the victims. Veterinarians are treating a horse hit by a car and severely injured in Zomlingthang about five minutes’ drive from the Mochhu parking lot.

Stray cattle loiter in the town

An eyewitness told Kuensel that dogs were biting the injured horse before help arrived. In another incident a horse was found dead after it was hit by a moving car.

Another horse with a wound, believed to have been caused by a knife, was found last week at the Mochhu parking lot. 

Punakha police also hear frequent complaints about stray cattle being injured and killed in road accidents or by miscreants. 

Veterinarian Doctor, Rinchen Tshering in Punakha, said that to safeguard public health and animal population, he and his colleagues have been doing post-mortems and burying dead animals despite not having human resources or logistics to carry out such tasks. 

The veterinarian said it was customary among the locals to release their cattle during paddy cultivation because of  labour shortage which results in harming animals. He said that all the relevant authorities like thromde officials, dzongkhag administration, local government leaders, dzongkhag livestock sector, RSTA and more importantly the general public should work together for a solution. 

Causing serious bodily injury to an animal is a penal offence that comes with a penalty of  petty misdemeanor. 

Sonam Dorji the Chairperson of DT and also the Kabjisa gup said that cattle roaming around the town or along the highway have owners who despite repeated warnings not to release the cattle along the highway are not cooperating. “I don’t think cars intentionally hit animals on the road, but it does happen occasionally,” he said.  

Punakha has 8,363 head of cattle, according to the Integrated Agriculture and Livestock Census 2022.