29- 30 December 2021: As a part of the nationwide Accelerated Dog Population Management and Rabies Control Program (NADPM & RCP), the Department of Livestock in collaboration with the De-suung Office, Local Government and relevant stakeholders carried out the nationwide free-roaming dog survey on the 29 and 30th December 2021 covering 19 Dzongkhags, Throms and 197 Gewogs, excluding Thimphu Dzongkhag and Throm (completed earlier). The main objective of the free-roaming dog survey was to obtain baseline information on the free-roaming dog population to enable effective planning and successful implementation of the nationwide sterilization program. The free-roaming dog population will give us the basis to calculate the exact number of clinics, the number of surgeons, nurses, welfare assistants, equipment, vaccines and medicines, logistics and budget required to roll out nationwide sterilization of unneutered free-roaming dogs and mass dog vaccination against rabies in mid-March, 2022.
The bar graph and the map below show the figure from the two days nationwide free-roaming dog population survey. A total of 72,621 free-roaming dogs were counted; out of which, about (26951) 37% were owned free-roaming dogs and (45670) 63% unowned free-roaming dogs, of which (44038) 60.6% of them were unneutered.
Paro dzongkhag recorded the highest number of free-roaming dogs and unneutered dogs followed by Trashigang, Samtse and Mongar Dzongkhags. Despite the harsh weather conditions due to rain and snowfall, the enumerators comprising 403 livestock officials and 2,500 De-suups ensured that no dogs were left uncounted and unrecorded. The nationwide free-roaming dog survey will be followed by On-The-Job Training (OJT) for De-suups to train them on animal welfare, shelter management, dog handling and catching; and livestock officials on Catch Neuter Release and Vaccinate (CNVR) protocol. The OJT shall start from January 2022 till the first week of March 2022, following which a total of about 3000 De-suups and 266 livestock officials would be trained for the upcoming national campaign. By the end of January 2022, all the pet dogs in 19 Dzongkhags shall be microchipped, registered and the communities advocated on Responsible Pet Ownership and the penalties for non-compliance as per the Livestock Act of Bhutan 2001 and the Livestock Rules and Regulations of Bhutan 2017.
The ongoing NADPM&RCP is being pursued at a large scale and in an accelerated mode to achieve 100% sterilization coverage in free-roaming dogs in the country within 2 weeks. It will be a whole nation approach involving De-suung and other relevant stakeholders. Through this program, intensified vaccination campaigns against rabies shall also be conducted in all the rabies high-risk areas in the country to achieve the global goal of “Zero by 30”; i.e. to eliminate human deaths from dog-mediated rabies by 2030.
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