Stray dogs
© Sumit MalhotraStray dogs
In yet another incident of attack by stray dogs, a pack killed a 10-year-old boy on Saturday evening when he was going to attend a religious event at a local temple in Unai Chapta village in Baheri. This is the ninth child to be killed by dogs in Baheri in the past one-and-a-half years. Besides, more than 50 kids have sustained injuries after being attacked by strays over this period.

As per the family of the victim, Pushpendra Kumar, 10, son of Ramesh Kumar, was on his way to a temple when he was attacked by a pack of dogs. Though the distance between the victim's house and the temple is barely one kilometre, the pack of dogs pounced on him when he was halfway to his destination.

Two villagers riding a motorcycle saw the attack and chased the strays away. However, the boy had died of his injuries by then. Pushpendra, said his family, was the youngest of four siblings.

The district administration and forest department believe that the stray dogs have become feral in the region after scavenging on animal flesh, blood and bones which are mostly discarded from slaughterhouses. As these dog attacks have become a serious menace in Baheri, the district administration had outsourced the job of sterilising the canines to a Pilibhit agency in April this year.

District magistrate Gaurav Dayal said, "Though this incident took place in Unai Chapta village, the agency had caught 15 dogs in the neighbouring village on Friday. However, a few villagers opposed it and claimed that the caught dogs were not feral. They forced the agency to release them. It appears that the same pack of dogs have attacked this time."

Dayal added, "I have asked the sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) Baheri to inform locals that we will take action against them in future if they will try to release dogs. There is no mechanism among villagers to distinguish normal dogs from feral ones. Only the catchers from the agency can distinguish between them. They have caught 150 dogs in Baheri so far."

Principal scientist at Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) Abhijeet Pawde said, "When any child spots dogs, he starts running in panic. Dogs are attracted to fast-moving things. For instance, they do not chase stationery vehicles, only moving ones."