Stray dogs

Representative image
Villagers in Kundarki sub-division of Moradabad have taken to the streets in protest after two more children, six-year-old Abdul Samad and 10-year-old Rehnuma, were mauled to death by strays. Two days ago, two kids were killed by dogs in another village. In all, eight children have fallen to dog attacks in the area this year. Officials are unable to understand how the number of canines has gone up again when 160 dogs were caught in the area and released into the wild just last month.

The situation has become so grim that the administration now wants trained shooters and tranquiliser guns to deal with the menace. The district magistrate has ordered a probe into the growing number of dog attacks.

Abdul Basit, sub-divisional magistrate, said, "The alarming frequency of dog attacks indicates that the canines here may have developed the habit of eating human flesh and find easy prey in children. On occasions, we have placed pieces of animal meat in jungles in our bid to lure them into traps, but they didn't eat it." The administration has also blamed forest officials for not providing assistance in catching dogs. "The forest department says the problem is out of their purview as jungle dogs are not categorised as vermin," Basit added.

Six-year-old Abdul Samad was attacked by a pack of over a dozen dogs in Bhishmpur village of Kundarki on Tuesday when he was playing near a field along with four other children. "My son resisted the dogs and fought them for 10 minutes before he fell down. By the time other children informed others and he was rescued, it was too late," said his father Ibne Hasan. Ten-year-old Rehnuma was killed by dogs in Chitupur village on Monday.

The two deaths, and four this week, brought protesters to the streets who held a sit-in and blocked a highway for a few hours.

On Sunday, 13-year-old Nitin Singh was mauled to death by a pack of stray dogs inside a mango orchard in Kundarki. In October, stray dogs had mauled two girls to death in separate incidents at Kazipura and Shekhipura villages of the sub-division, both of them 35 km from Moradabad city. Ten-year-old Gudia was attacked in Shekhipura village when she was on her way to an agricultural field where he father was working. Witnesses told police that she was attacked by a pack of over a dozen dogs that dragged her to a nearby field. By the time, villagers rushed to her rescue, she was already dead.

In another incident, 10-year-old Sofia Saba of Kazipura village was killed by dogs when she was on her way to her coaching classes.

Following the two deaths, district magistrate Zuhair-bin-Sagheer had ordered stray dogs in villages to be captured and released into the wild.

Villagers, meanwhile, blamed authorities for the canine menace. They claimed that strays from the city were being released in the villages instead of forest areas. With no source of food in villages, hungry dogs attack children, they said.