The month-old baby’s death at a hospital in Rajasthan’s Sirohi town on Monday (February 27) has reignited the debate over possible solutions to stop the stray dog attacks being reported across the country.
Indeed, deadly dog attacks are being reported with increasing frequency, further widening the rift between animal lovers and those who think people’s safety comes first and that the animals should simply go from the streets.
A series of attacks
On Monday, the canines entered the hospital at night and stealthily pounced on the month-old baby sleeping next to his mother. When the mother suddenly woke up, she was horrified to see her baby being gnawed to death. The distraught father recovered the remains of the body outside the hospital ward.
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Sometime back, a four-year-old boy in Hyderabad who was carrying a food packet was chased and dragged away by a pack of stray bags. The child died.
In October last year, a seven-month-old baby died after being attacked by a stray in a gated colony in Noida near Delhi. A month earlier, a 12-year-old girl from Pathanamthitta in Kerala died of rabies after a canine attack. That same month, a teenage boy suffered multiple injuries after a stray dog turned aggressive.
Pet dog attacks
Even pet dogs have taken to attacking strangers. In Haryana’s Rewari town, a woman and her two children were attacked by a pit bull in October last year.
In November, a pet dog bit a six-year-old inside the lift of a building in Greater Noida.
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Most victims have been children and the elderly who could not defend themselves. The increasing number of dog attacks and fatalities has pitted dog lovers against those who want the animals removed from the streets lock, stock, and barrel.
Surekha Tripathi, a teacher, told PTI that canines are unpredictable and should be removed from around residential areas.
Animal rights experts argue that the aggression of community dogs comes from their natural sense to defend themselves, their litter, or their territory, as well as due to hunger.
The only long-term solution, they say, is sterilisation and vaccination.
Ambika Shukla of People for Animals said the failure to sterilise and vaccinate dogs, as mandated by courts, was not the animal’s fault.
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There were 1.5 crore stray dogs in India in 2019.
Geeta Seshamani of Friendicoes SECA said the public must feed them like humans. “Well-fed dogs are socialised and respond with love to the kindness shown to them.”
Foreign dogs banned
A PETA spokesperson said an effective sterilisation programme can help prevent a proliferation of community dogs when they are surgically neutered and then returned to their home area, also vaccinated against rabies.
The Noida authority has mandated pet owners to register, sterilise, and vaccinate their dogs and cats.
Also read: Noida pet policy: ₹10,000 fine on owners if pet dog, cat attack anyone
Gurugram’s civic body also issued a notice in November and banned 11 foreign breeds, including American pit-bull terriers and rottweilers.
The three breeds are also banned by Ghaziabad Municipal Corporation.
(With agency inputs)