Chhimi Dema 

Volunteers involved in animal welfare rescued hundreds of animals during the 42-day long nationwide lockdown.

Barnyard Bhutan Animal Rescue and Sanctuary in Paro rescued about 40 animals, which included cows, horses, dogs and cats. A group of volunteers, who call themselves Zeus, rescued more than 85 dogs, including 60 puppies during the lockdown.

Barnyard Bhutan’s Executive Director Jamie Vaughan said most of the rescued animals had recovered well. “Only some animals that were hurt in car accidents before the lockdown and were left without aid have permanent injuries like broken backs. They cannot recover.”

She said that the rescued dogs suffered from chronic skin conditions or were skinny and old. Jamie Vaughan said that there were only few animals hurt in accidents because of the lockdown.

She said that people donating old blankets and clothes were useful to make animal bedding and coats for horses. “Construction scraps or bowls were useful as well.”

The founder of Zeus, Thinley Norbu, said that some rescued dogs required de-worming as they were suffering from calcium deficiency. The team rescued an injured pigeon and cats as well.

With a permit to move, the team took animals with minor injuries under their care, and referred those seriously injured to Jangsa Animal Saving Trust or Bhutan Animal Rescue and Care in Thimphu.

Thinley Norbu said they shared their contacts on social media platforms so that people could contact them whenever they saw injured animals. They have 14 puppies in their mini shelter, and 15 dogs under observation.

The team was also feeding more than 300 stray dogs in Babesa, Olakha, Chubogang, IT Park, and areas nearby.

Thinley Norbu said that the team members contributed to meet the expenditure to feed and rescue the dogs. “We also received public contributions. We look forward to getting support to expand this cause for the welfare of all animals.”

Dr Marianne Guillet of Bhutan Animal Rescue and Care in Thimphu said most of the puppies brought to them suffered from malnutrition, diarrhoea, vomiting and anorexia. “The puppies were born before lockdown.”

The centre lost five animals with four puppies suffering from diarrhoea and gastroenteritis-condition that causes inflammation of gastrointestinal tract (stomach and intestines), and a stabbed dog from Paro rescued by Barnyard Bhutan.

The centre employs 14 individuals but during the lockdown, only five worked at the centre to look after about 400 animals in the shelter.

Jangsa Animal Saving Trust’s programme manager, Sonam Norzin, said the shelter admitted 25 animals during the lockdown.

He said the number of rescued animals dropped from 65 to 25 due to movement restriction.  Sonam Norzin said the animals admitted at the shelter were with severe injuries. “Most  required critical interventions of rigorous treatment and intensive care, which we administer immediately at our shelter.”

The shelter drew preparedness plans to ensure the delivery of their services partnering with Desuups.

Sonam Norzin said that Jangsa trained Desuup in basic animal handling techniques and first aid.

Meanwhile, Dr Guillet said that a sustained and continuous sterilisation campaign was required to deal with the dog population.