In the 1990's on the advice of WHO (World Health Organization), the Royal Government of Bhutan adopted culling as a means of controlling the increasing number of stray dogs in the country in an effort to prevent the spread of rabies and other dog related disease.
Tashi Payden, the founder of RSPCA (Royal Society for the Protection and Care of Animals), approached the Mayor of Thimpu, the Capital City of Bhutan suggesting sterilization and vaccination as an alternative to culling.
Her idea was welcomed and thereafter, along with a group of volunteers, Tashi went around the city every evening collecting waste food from restaurants and feeding the stray dogs in an effort to befriend them, making it easier to round them up for vaccination and sterilization. Vaccinations, spay and neutering was done with the assistance of the National Animal Hospital in Thimpu, Bhutan.
The RSPCA was established in July, 1999 with the patronage of Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck. The society has a clearly formulated vision in its charter and an active Board of eight volunteer Directors from both civil society and the Royal Government of Bhutan, which governs the society's affairs. In that same year, the RSPCA, Bhutan received a plot of land un suburban Thimpu from the government for construction of the Animal Care Center.
In 2002, the RSPCA obtained funds from the Sustainable Development Secretariat, which enabled the to construct the animal shelter on the land. The shelter has been in continuous operation since then.
In 2008, the interim government passed an order too all the Districts in the country of Bhutan to catch and impound all stray dogs. The RSPCA and other animal lovers convinced the new governent to close down all the dog pounds in the country. In 2009, through the Tourism Council of Bhutan and the Bhutan Foundation, the Director of HSI (Human Society International), Asia was invited to help with an alternative to impounding as a method of controlling the stray dog problem. RSPCA convinced the government to work with HSI on a catch, neuter, vaccinate and release program as an alternative and more humane method to impounding as a solution to the stray dog crisis.
A four-month pilot project was initiated in February 2009 with a team of 14 members from HSI Asia consisting of veterinarians, para vets,, and dog catchers. In September 2009 the Royal Government of Bhutan signed a Memorandum of Understanding with HSI Asia to work as a partner with them to solve the problem of stray dog menace and rabies control. The program would be undertaken nationwide for a period of three years. Tashi Payden, then an employee with the Tourism Council, was asked to set up the project which was launched in Bumthang, Bhutan. In September 2012, the Royal Gvernment of Bhutan extended the contract for another three years.
For eighteen years, the RSPCA Bhutan and its members have committed their time and resources, tirelessly working towards a better future for the stray dogs. Their efforts continue through developing collaborative efforts
and funding from other sources both inside and outside the country.