City: Thimphu Thromde impounds about 17 straying cattle and horses a month on average.
Since January last year to May this year, the thromde has impounded more than 300 vagrant animals in its enclosure in Changangkha.
After impounding the animals, the thromde notifies the rightful owners to re-claim them within a week. The owners have to pay per day fine of Nu 300.
Since January last year, thromde has collected Nu 82,450 fine.
Raising domestic animals like cattle and horses is not allowed within the city precinct. Thrompon Kinlay Dorjee said that the thromde impounds stray domestic animals if they are found around human settlements and highways, causing nuisance. He said there is risk of accidents where lives can be lost if the cattle are left to free-range on the roads.
After the hedge plantation along the expressway last month, thromde notified the public that any stray domestic animals found causing destruction to the plantation will be impounded and sent to different dzongkhags.
However, thromde allows some leeway with rules as long as animals do not cause disturbance in the city area, said kinlay Dorjee.
According to thromde, most of the stray horses come from Lingshi and Phajoding, and cows from Babesa and Punakha.
Thromde’s assistant engineer with environment division, Tashi Tshering, said that the cattle may have been left to graze in the forest, but eventually, they come down to the city.
Most of the time, however, no one comes to re-claim old oxen and horses even after the thromde issues notification. Some owners prefer to leave their animal in thromde’s enclosure than paying fine.
“When animals are young and strong, people make use of them, and when they get old the owners just set them free and don’t care,” said Tashi Tshering. “Cows that are healthy are re-claimed.”
A pregnant horse was impounded few months ago. The horse gave birth to a foal. They have been in the thromde’s enclosure for more than three months now. No one has re-claimed the horse and the foal. Thromde has decided to keep them in the enclosure because of danger to the foal if they are let out to the forest.
Thromde used to give unclaimed animals to Jangsa Animal Saving Trust, a non-profit charitable organisation for saving animals in Bhutan. Now the unclaimed stray animals are freed to graze at Dochula and Phajoding areas.
The thrompon said unclaimed cattle are handed over to Department of Livestock. The department takes the animals to their cattle raising farms in Wangkha, Chukha.
As of yesterday, there were two horses and cows in the thromde’s enclosure.