Stray animal’s owner to be slapped fine in Punakha

Starting tomorrow, the Punakha District administration will slap a fine of Nu 1,000 per day against those releasing animals freely near the Dzong area and the gewog offices. This was decided in the recent Dzongkhag Tshogdu. Unattended cattle and horses have been a menace causing inconveniences in the district.

The nursery nearby the Dzong area is one of the most affected by stray animals. According to the caretaker, it’s a common sight to see cattle entering and eating the plants. More than a dozen cattle from nearby villages trespass and destroy plants and tree saplings.

“I always make an effort to chase the stray animals when they enter the Dzong area to the nearby forest. But it’s dangerous as I nearly got hit and killed by one of the. They have become a menace getting into the nursery, destroying plants and greenhouses,” said the caretaker, Thinley Bidha.

“People let their animals enter our protected areas by cutting the surrounding wire mesh fencing. Around 50 to 60 cattle end up coming to our enclosed area and damage the plants. We try chasing away the animals from the dzong area daily in the morning,” said Dzongkhag Beautification officer, Sonam Wangchuk.

The issue was deliberated in the recent Dzongkhag Tshogdu. Local leaders raised that despite several notifications and announcements, people have been releasing animals freely.

“Firstly, we haven’t been able to achieve the beautification works around the Dzong area despite planting various plants and trees. Secondly, maintaining cleanliness and hygiene has been difficult due to the stray menace,” said Ugyen Tshering, Dzongrab.

“Many unattended cattle are coming to my jurisdiction in Barp Gewog as well. The stray horses along the Punakha highway are now coming to our Gewog. It’s difficult to chase them as they end up returning to the same area,” said Passang Dorji, Barp Gup.

“We called all the owners of the animals nearby the Dzong area and conducted consultation meetings. Still, it’s the same. Owners refuse to come and take the animals from us even after a month,” said Sonam Wangchuk.

However, the Dzongkhag Tshogdu’s decision of paying Nu 1,000 as a penalty is expected to solve the issue in the district.

As per the decision, if the owners do not pay the penalty within three days, the administration would either auction the animals or give them to the Tshethar Tshogpa.

Changa Dorji, Punakha

Edited by Sonam Pem

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