Chhimi Dema 

Animal welfare centres, Barnyard Bhutan Animal Rescue and Sanctuary, and Bhutan Animal Rescue and Care, said they would pursue a legal course of action on a case of a dog that was stabbed in Paro last month.

On January 19, at around 4 pm, Barnyard Bhutan rescued a dog. It had been stabbed, the spleen of the dog had come out.

Barnyard Bhutan’s executive director, Jamie Vaughan, said that the wounds indicated that the dog was stabbed from behind, on her lower back, angled up to the lungs.

“Surgery was performed to repair the stomach,” Jamie Vaughan said. “The contents of the stomach had come out, and it had caused problems to the abdomen.”

The dog was transferred to Thimphu for additional treatment on the day but she died the next day. The dog was about 13 years old and weighed around 10kg.

Jamie Vaughan said that the attack was intentional.

Barnyard Bhutan reported the case to the police.

Jamie Vaughan said that they were pursuing the case because “it is about getting justice for the animal and, preventing it from happening to other animals.”

The centre receives about  10 cases of intentional stabbing every year.

Kesang Wangmo, a lecturer at the Jigme Singye Wangchuck School of Law, said that Bhutan had a long way to go when it comes to animal welfare and protection. “Section 396 (D) of the penal code does criminalise animal cruelty in essence, but it is only a ‘misdemeanour’ offence.”

Section 396(D) states: “A defendant shall be guilty of the offence of malicious mischief if the defendant without right or any reasonable ground to believe that the defendant has the right to do so: causes serious bodily injury to an animal.”

Kesang Wangmo said that that was not even the bare minimum threshold for animal protection laws in a country. “We as a society need to collectively come together and ask the government to come up with an animal welfare law, but also re-evaluate what it means to be a GNH society.”