Hounded dogs

Dog house

About two weeks ago, after returning from Gakiling, I visited the dog pound in Haa. The pound, located several kilometers above Jengkana and right beside the dzonghag’s landfill, is in fact a sprawling facility of cement, corrugated iron and wire mesh spread over an acre among blue pine forests. I was immediately impressed.

Namgay, the caretaker, proudly took me on a tour of the facility which includes separate pounds – each neatly divided by wire mesh – for new arrivals, puppies, recreation, weak dogs, dogs undergoing medical treatment, and “dada” dogs. He explained that the resident dogs are fed twice a day, and that a network of concrete channels drains their faeces to a nearby septic tank. I was truly impressed.

There was one problem though: the boarding facility had only nine residents! Namgay clarified that when the pound first opened, about three years ago, they had about 200 inmates. Many of them escaped, by digging under the fence or simply climbing over it, to the unfurnished but much more promising landfill, located immediately adjacent to the pound.

But they mainly died, in the pound itself, from hunger, sickness and cannibalism. Most recently, on New Year’s Day, 30 of the animals lost their lives due to the extreme cold. It had snowed that morning.

So Bhutan Observer’s report, that the Government is rethinking its approach to control the stray dog population in our country, comes as very good news.

Dzongkhag landfill

New comer pound

Recreation area

"Dada" dog pound

Recreation pound

Good for Namgay

For sick and weak dogs

Empty facilities


Facebook Comments:


  1. where did dogs migrated? i think from the rural areas.dogs were confined in the tight closure where there is no enough space for them.. how many space do a dog need? i have no idea but i am sure space provided the closure is not enough for them.
    government have initiated it to minimize dogs population,other is cross- breed and sell to the interest buyers.
    however if we look at the situation in the dog’s compound you will see malnourished and all dogs wearing black leather jacket. everything is possible in Bhutan- pigs can fly and dogs can wear leather jacket. how wonderful is our country.
    dog migrated from the rural areas to the urban center because of modernization- dogs want to eat cake,pizza, chinese, japanese thi food etc. they were tried of ama datsi and kharang.
    similarly our rural friends are migrating to the urban areas because of hardship in rural areas- no road, no light ect- unbalanced social economic development.
    what could be there fate- what our government is doing to curb this issue. at last they will make rural people’s compound where all the rural friends will be kept by the government like that of dogs…than people will start to wear dogs skin……not the leather jackets…. i will also fall in this category coz i am compound out…. my home will be rural areas compund….

  2. I would love to help out, if I ever can. More staff, more space, better education of the caretakers all point to more money. Would we be able to raise by donations? Is there some ways to make it more sustainable – like breeding programs (…though only for mongrels I guess), distribution as pets? And there should be ongoing population control methods all the time. I believe, though not an expert, there are various way of controlling population (including condoms!) all of which could be allowed. How about also advertising and providing royalty free trip to Bhutan for any interested veterinarians to come and perform surgical birth control methods?

    • Dear KISA: Bhutan Observer reported that the government has a Nu 46 million programme to ‘Catch, Neuter, Vaccinate and Release’ stray dogs. Hopefully, that works. But our dog pounds are in a shameful state. And, if at all possible, you should get involved. Just show up and ask how you can help. tshering

  3. Controlling dogs will always be difficult in Bhutan. In order for that to change , our culture might need a drastic change too.
    In most western societies, dogs are treated as family members, they sleep inside, take them to veterinary hospitals and spend 1,000s of dollars on them, they feed them seperate food, not leftover like we do in Bhutan, they have dogs toys, tehy take them for walk, also getting a nice puppy is expensive.
    They also have a lot of non-profit animal rescue leagues, that looks after stray animals and have them up for adption.
    Sad to say this, the only solution in Bhutan might be to castrate and fix every one of them or kill them in a humane way.( The hurts and wounded ones).

Leave a Reply