Bhutan Becomes First Country In The World To Sterilise & Vaccinate All Of Its Street Dogs

This is the result of 14 years of hard work.

Cover image via Nikhil Patel/Dogster & World Animal News

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After years of being involved in a humane animal welfare programme, Bhutan has announced that all of its street dogs have been fully sterilised and vaccinated

According to DownToEarth, this comes 14 years after Humane Society International (HSI) began a dog population control initiative in 2009 to neuter and vaccinate Bhutan's street dog population.

This incredible accomplishment was announced by Bhutanese Prime Minister Lotay Tshering, who spoke at the conclusion of the National Dog Population Management and Rabies Control Project in Thimpu, Bhutan's capital city.

He said that over 150,000 street dogs were sterilised and vaccinated, and around 32,000 domesticated dogs had also been microchipped.

In Bhutan, dogs share a close relationship with humans, with some working canines playing a vital role as farm helpers

In the past, Bhutan's dog population was typically controlled by natural circumstances, such as harsh weather conditions or natural predators. But with the rapid development of Bhutan's cities and the illicit sale of meat (causing waste), the dog population soon grew out of control.

According to Dogster, there were so many dogs that tourists began complaining about the incessant barking and howling in Thimpu. Even locals themselves started to fear the packs of strays that roamed the streets.

Eventually, a team led by Rahul Sehgal, the Asia director of HSI, was brought in to tackle the overpopulation issue.

Within four months, Sehgal and his team managed to sterilise 4,000 dogs, significantly reducing the number of strays

This feat impressed Bhutanese officials so much that they offered significant funding to extend the project nationwide.

Eventually, a total of 35 Bhutanese veterinarians were equipped with skills to perform high-volume/high-quality sterilisation techniques. Several community outreach initiatives were also conducted to educate locals on dog welfare and ways to reduce human-dog conflicts.

"This might seem like a small step, but it will go a long way in nation-building," said Prime Minister Tshering while congratulating community volunteers and workers involved in the initiative during the closing ceremony.

Across Asia, there are roughly 300 million stray dogs currently facing poor health and living conditions

Many of these dogs suffer from starvation, poor health, parasitic infections and diseases. Many of them are also regularly subject to traffic accidents and inhumane treatment by humans.

Conversely, these stray dogs also pose a threat to humans by spreading rabies through bites, with the World Health Organization (WHO) estimating around 59,000 deaths from rabies globally every year.

Some Malaysian non-governmental organisations have also taken on the responsibility to trap, neuter, and rehabilitate stray dogs:

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