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Stray dogs bit at least 20 people each month in Haa last year 

Eusu gewog’s Gup Nima Tshering in Haa proposed instituting a system of imposing a fine of Nu 500 a household for failing to bring a stray to sterilisation programmes at the Haa Dzongkhag Tshogdu on March 9.

Chair of the Dzongkhag Tshogdu, Thinley, said that although the tshogdu endorsed Eusu gewog’s proposal, the system of imposing a fine should be uniform in all gewogs and throm.

He said that the sterilisation programmes could be informed beforehand so that people would be prepared.

Samar Gup Tshewang Tobgay said that while Eusu gewog had made the proposal, there is a need to consult his people first before implementing it although there may not be any problem.

“The people in Samar have not been informed about this proposal and we need to consult them first,” he said.

The tshogdu identified chiwog tshogpa to collect fines. It was yet to be decided on what and where the fund would be used for.

Stray dogs bit at least 20 people each month in Haa last year show records with Bali’s Basic Health Unit I (BHU).

More than 240 people were treated for dog bites last year and about 33 people had been reported to the BHU for canine attack this year.

Veterinary officer Dr Jigme Thinley, said that Community Animal Birth Control (CABC) programmes are conducted twice a year to control the dog population. “Where there is need in places such as the town and crowded areas, the programme is also carried out,” he said.

The last CABC programme was conducted on December 11 last year in the dzongkhag.

To address rising dog population in the country, the National Dog Population Management (NDPM) and Rabies Control Programme (RCP) was formed as a joint project with the government and Humane Society International.

Sonam Dorji, 54, from Hatoe said packs of stray dogs loiter around the throm area. “Usually my friends and relatives call asking me to either walk with them or pick them up.”

He said that most people do not come outside at night and that not much help can be requested if canine attacks occur.

Besides the CABC, every Tuesday, a programme called “Love your dogs’ day” is conducted. “It is basically a sterilisation campaign for pets, ferals, community guard and stray dogs. These dogs are also provided medical treatment for flea wound and vaccination as per the client’s need.”

Veterinary officials said that there are no well-trained staff to catch dogs. “Whenever there is need, we put forward our requisition to the animal health centre based in Thimphu for staff who can catch dogs. Catching dogs is the most difficult task.”

Officials said that in the past, they have tried to catch dogs, but most got lost or went into hiding after few got caught. “We are occupied in sterilising and providing medical services to the ones present. To catch dogs, we need time and well trained staff.”

However during winter, these campaigns are put on hold for about three to four months. “Operating could be harmful for dogs in cold environment,” veterinary officials said.

The next programme is expected to continue from April this year.

Human resource, better cooperation and support from the community also remain a challenge. Veterinary officials said that a lot of planning and preparation goes into conducting such kind of campaigns. “Medicines need to be procured if not enough. We need to inform people before such programmes are carried out.”

Officials said that it was difficult to determine an estimate of the dog population in the dzongkhag.

The NDPM and RCP report 2016 show that in the first phase, close to 506 stray were vaccinated and about 256 vaccinated in the second phase in Haa.

Rinchen Zangmo I Haa 

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