National Dog Population Management & Rabies Control Project (NDPM & RCP) is a collaborative effort of Royal Government of Bhutan (Department of Livestock) and Humane Society International with a 50-50 partnership, with funds flowing in both cash and kind. The Initiation: Realizing the need to effectively manage dog population in a scientific, humane, and sustainable manner, the government embarked upon the use of Animal Birth Control/Anti-rabies Vaccination (ABC/AR) programs in line with international standards.
The Department of Livestock under the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests initiated training of the veterinarians on ABC techniques through the support of NGOs such as Vets Beyond Borders (VBB), an Australia based NGO and Humane Society International (HSI), a US based NGO. The proposal of HSI was more relevant and applicable in our Bhutanese context hence the Ministry enlisted the assistance of HSI, to draft and implement a sustainable and resource-efficient, national dog population management and rabies control strategy using the Catch-Neuter-Vaccinate-Release (CNVR) protocol.
Before the formal launch of the project in June 2009, a 4 months pilot phase was undertaken so as to understand the ground realities before the launch of the Ist phase with effect from February to May 2009 in which a total of 2846 dogs and cats were sterilized and vaccinated using the Catch, Neuter, Vaccinate and Release (CNVR) protocol.
The first phase which lasted from September 2009 to June 2012 covered all 20 Dzongkhags and some more than twice. In the 1st phase a total of 36987 dogs and 1548 cats were sterilized and vaccinated through CNVR. There were 3 teams working in different Dzongkhags and each team comprised of 2 vets, 7 dog catchers/nurse/prep and a driver with a dog catching van. Most of the team members at that time were HSI consultants with few Bhutanese counterparts as we lacked the technical expertise.
After the successful implementation of 1st phase and the need to complete the set target of covering 80 percent of free roaming dogs, the 2nd phase of the project was launched in July 2012 for a period of 3 years till June 2015.