Chhimi Dema 

Residents of Thimphu complain that stray dogs taken for sterilisation as part of the dog population management are displaced causing them to die after attacks from dogs in other areas.

Ezang from Thimphu on Thursday near the Hotel Pedling in Hong Kong Market saw a dog attacked by a pack of dogs eventually leading to his death.

The golden coat dog, she said, was sterilised, had a tag on his neck, and smelled of medicine.

“The dog was not dropped at his territory after sterilisation and he was attacked by other dogs,” she said, adding that the dog must have been too weak to fight after the surgery.

Ezang said that those who were responsible for catching the dogs were not checking if the dog was sterilised already or not.

She also shared that a dog taken for sterilisation on February 28 was still missing from its usual place.

There are various posts on social media of dogs missing from around Thimphu. Some dogs went missing in November and December last year and are still not found.

Social media users claim that the pets and free-roaming go missing after sterilisation and are released in other areas.

A netizen posted on Facebook that the “repeated occurrences could only mean the lack of care, professional conduct and empathy.”

The Nationwide Accelerated Dog Population Management and Rabies Control Programme is expected to bring the dog population under control by 2023. 

An official from the programe said that those involved in catching and releasing dogs confirmed that the dog that died near Hotel Pedling had surgery months ago considering the scar marks.

The official said that earlier the dogs after sterilisation were kept in withholding cages for observation for three days.

However, the free-roaming dogs were not used to staying in an enclosure so they bite the wire mesh, jump from the cage and escape, the official added. “This has caused the dogs to get misplaced initially.”

Considering these difficulties, the observation period was shortened to 24 hours and the release was based upon the surgeons’ discretion.

The official said: “We are trying our best to bring interventions so that cases like these don’t recur.”

The official added that there was a Standard Operating Procedure that includes taking pictures of the dogs and the landmarks from where they were picked to drop them at those locations after sterilisation.