Haunted by a strange problem

Officials at the Divisional Forestry Office in Mugu have been dogged by a strange problem caused by a dog.

On March 28, the Division Forestry Office arrested four people for their alleged involvement in poaching. They were accompanied by a hunting dog, which was also arrested along with them.

The Division Forestry Bureau prosecuted the four individuals – Chyampa Tamang, Dawa Choden Tamang, Tashi Tamang and Chimek Tamang from Mugum Karmarong – on charges of poaching.

On May 26, the Mugu District Court decided to release Chyampa and her son Dawa on bail of Rs70,000 each, while Tashi and Chimek were released on a general date.

No warrant was issued for the dog as he was not named as a defendant.

Forestry officials are now up a gum tree and perplexed as to what to do with the furry animal that has been in their custody for the past two and a half months.

Since the forestry office had only filed one case against four suspected poachers, the court did not rule on the dog, according to court officials.

Bidhya Raj Budha, information officer at the Mugu District Court, said the word ‘dog’ was not mentioned in the recorded poaching case.

“Then how can the court decide?” Buddha said.

Dawa Choden in her statement in court had said that she saw a ghoral (Himalayan goral, goat-antelope) grazing on the way to the nearby water mill. She turned around and went to his house to get her hunting dog to kill the squirrel.

The incident was reported to the police after some villagers saw him with the dead man. ghoral.

The police immediately arrested the four people along with the dog and confiscated the ghoral and handed it over to the Division Forestry Office.

According to the division’s forestry officer, Gagan Mahatara, it was not decided whether to release the dog or kill it because there was no court order.

Mahatara said the forestry office is facing difficulties in caring for the dog.

“The office has already spent Rs 25,000 on feeding the dog,” Mahatara said. “The office allocates a budget for cattle but not for dogs. We have been using the same fund to feed the dog.”

According to the Forestry Division Office, the Wildlife Conservation and National Parks Act provides for the killing of hunting dogs after receiving orders from the relevant authorities. But the bureau has been unable to make a decision about the dog they detained about two and a half months ago.

Forestry officials are not in favor of leaving the dog unattended as they fear it could harm wildlife.

“This is a hunting dog,” Mahatara said. “If we release him, he can kill wild animals.”