dog attack
A five-year-old girl in Madhya Pradesh's Bakawa village, identified as Sonia in news reports, lost her life Friday after being attacked by half-a-dozen stray dogs while on her way to pick up groceries from a neighbourhood store.

The girl's father, a labourer, was at work at the time, but her mother was home. She was first rushed to the hospital by passersby, and eventually shifted to the district hospital, but eventually succumbed to her injuries. Six severe bite marks were reported on her neck.

The incident comes close on the heels of a baby boy, being mauled to death by some street dogs in Noida's posh Lotus Boulevard society earlier this week

The infant had been rushed to a private hospital and admitted in the ICU, and even underwent surgery as his intestines had been pulled out in the attack, but could not be saved..

"The parents of the child are construction workers. Both were engaged in construction work inside the society and had kept the child near them. However, a stray dog had entered the society which bit the child, leaving him severely injured," assistant commissioner of police (Noida 1) Rajneesh Verma, had been quoted as saying.

The Noida incident had ignited a wave of protest, with residents accusing civic bodies of failing to act on complaints of dog threats. According to reports, Noida has roughly 60,000 stray dogs, with about 40,000 having been sterilised in the city since 2017.

Now, the Madhya Pradesh tragedy again underlines the growing urban man-animal conflict.

"The incident from Madhya Pradesh is very deeply tragic and reminds us of the vital importance of the duty of municipalities under the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001 to run an effective dog sterilisation program. Getting dogs sterilised โ€” which calms them and stabilises the population of neighbourhood dogs โ€” has been a requirement for 21 year and if all municipalities had taken this lawful duty seriously, there would hardly be any dogs on the road today," Meet Ashar, animal rights advocate and manager of Cruelty Response Projects at Peta India, told ThePrint.

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court had stayed a Delhi High Court order permitting residents of a colony to feed stray dogs in their areas.

"This is becoming a polarising issue," said Karen Nazreth, head of the dog population management program at Humane Society International, India.

She added: "On one end, there is the Noida issue. On the other hand, there are people like the plastic surgeon in Jodhpur who tied a dog to his car and made him run for kilometers across the city. Neither of these incidents are isolated ones and whether dogs or humans, both suffer from the short-sightedness of the mediation."