Many countries have an overwhelming amount of street dogs, but sterilization and vaccination programs are a great way to keep these populations under control.
And one such program has been a resounding success: The Kingdom of Bhutan, a country once overrun with strays, has become the first country to vaccinate and sterilize 100% of their street dogs, thanks to a collaboration with Humane Society International.
According to World Animal News, the Royal Government of Bhutan announced the accomplishment at the closing ceremony of the National Dog Population Management and Rabies Control Project.
Prime Minister Tshering presented Humane Society International with a plaque and thanked them for their “consistent and unwavering support” for a program that has been ongoing for over a decade.
Bhutan, a country in South Asia with a population of 727,145, has long struggled with an overabundance of street dogs. While strays are traditionally tolerated and cared for by locals, bites, fear of rabies and continuous litters of puppies made the situation unmanagable.
Seeking a humane solution to the crisis, they collaborated with Humane Society International in 2009.
“Like many developing nations, Bhutan has faced the problem of how to deal with the overwhelming number of dogs roaming the streets,” the organization wrote in 2011. “Eventually, negative reactions by tourists to the presence of street dogs and non-stop nightly barking prompted the administration of the RGOB to take action.”
HSI launched a massive “Catch-Neuter-Vaccinate-Release” program in the country, and sterilized 2,800 dogs in the first four months. According to a Kitty Block, President and CEO of the Humane Society, 153,000 dogs in Bhutan have been vaccinated and sterilized over the course of the program, and more than 31,000 pets have been microchipped.
As the program grew gradually over the past 14 years, HSI was welcomed by communities and had the support of the government. Outreach programs educated locals on the importance of vaccinating and sterilizing animals. After a 14-year collaboration with HSI, the Royal Government of Bhutan now runs the program independently.
“HSI could not have found a more committed humane street dog management partner than the Royal Government of Bhutan,” said Keren Nazareth, HSI/India’s senior director of companion animals and engagement, according to World Animal News.
“This has been a long journey together with constant learning and adjustment, but from the start, the Government has been committed, which has enabled us to consistently improve the program. We congratulate the people of Bhutan for this extraordinary dog-friendly success which also brings enormous benefits to the local communities.”
Many Asian countries continue to deal with an overwhelming street dog population. With Bhutan achieving a near-complete vaccination and sterilization rate, Humane Society International hopes that the program will be a model for other countries.
Congratulations to the Kingdom of Bhutan and Humane Society International on completely sterilizing and vaccinating their street dog population! Humanely dealing with this many stray dogs is no easy task, but thanks to hard work they finally pulled it off.
Please share this amazing news if you love dogs!