Sweeping the dog problem under the rug

A round a hundred dogs were recently abandoned in Gaigurey in Chukha.

Many of them had been tied up inside sacks and dumped. Around 20 dogs died, some from suffocation, some from being hit by vehicles.

It is suspected that the dogs were transported in a truck and dumped in the area. Their origin remains a mystery as those responsible are yet to be traced.

The incident is deplorable and inhumane, and reflects badly on our moral progress.

Many of our towns do face stray dog problems and pedestrians have been bitten, some savagely, while many are derived of sleep with dogs barking all night.

The problem is not limited to only our urban areas. In some villages in Chumey, stray dogs have taken to killing sheep for several years now.

This is a serious problem. But simply dumping them as far away as possible only makes it another community’s problem.

Residents of Gaigurey are already facing problems. The dogs are aggressive as a result of their trauma and hunger. Despite this, residents are stepping forward and feeding the dogs.

NGO Jangsa Animal Saving Trust has also joined in to help the community take care of the dogs. A few have been transported to Thimphu for care.

While we do have a nationwide strategy of neutering stray dogs, it will take a few years before we see a reduction in the stray population. To what extent it helps though remains a question with many still choosing to hide dogs during neutering missions.

But what we must understand today is that the stray dog problem was created by ourselves. This is because there are no rules or regulations governing ownership of pets. As a result, we’ve let our pets breed uncontrollably until we could no longer handle the explosion in population. This led to abandonment of puppies, who grow up to be strays.

It is time we have rules in place. We can look at other countries that have been successful on this front. In some countries, owners are required to register pets, and spay and neuter them. Licenses are required if owners want to allow their pets to breed.

We’re also seeing many opting for imported pets. There is a need for awareness building on the animal farms that breed these exotic pets, to reverse this trend. As a compassionate society, we should recognise the value of adopting our own stray dogs, no matter what ailments they bring, in order to provide them with a safe and warm home. There is need for education on this front.

The stray dog problem is our making. Let’s not make it worse. Let’s solve it.

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