Stray dogs have struck terror in Uttar Pradesh where feral dogs have killed six children and devoured their body parts, setting alarm bells ringing as villagers have started indiscriminate killing of dogs.
The incident is reported from Sitapur, 80 km south-west of Lucknow, where stray dogs have started attacking children between the age group of 5 and 12 and have killed six children in last seven days.
Though the Government claims 12 children have been killed between November and May 6 by stray dogs, it is yet to take preventive steps to protect these children.
On May 1 three children were killed and three days later on May 4 feral dogs attacked a group of children and killed two. While the next day another child was mauled and killed by a pack of stray dogs in Khairabad, a hamlet which falls under Sitapur district.
A senior police officer Anand Kulkarni said that all these attacks have been reported when children had gone to answer nature’s call or had gone to collect mangoes. The stray dogs attack these children and before villagers come to the rescue of these children they are killed.
Gita, 7, a resident of Khairabad along with two children had gone to a mango orchard to collect mangoes on Friday morning when a pack of stray dogs attacked them. The two children managed to flee but dogs surrounded Gita and attacked her. Her shrieks alerted villagers but by the time they reached the site Gita had died, the officer said.
He said in another incident in Budanpur village a pack of stray dogs attacked Virendra, 10, who had gone to answer nature’s call. He raised alarm but before villagers could reach he was killed. Agitated villagers chased the dogs and killed one of them.
City Magistrate Harshdeo Pandey said that villagers have been asked not to allow children to go alone to answer nature’s call. Public announcements have been made in villages regarding this. We also suggest that children should not be allowed to go out to play for few days till all these dogs are caught.
Some of the villagers have started killing stray dogs. Some of them are lynched while a few are shot dead. Pankaj Singh Gaur, a resident of Sitapur, told this reporter on telephone that scared villagers are left with no option other than killing these stray dogs.
“The administration is reticent towards the plight of people. The apathy is government officials and ministers could be gauged from the fact that minister in-charge of Sitapur Dr Rita Bahuuna Joshi came to city on Saturday but did not meet the family who lost their kids to these dog’s attack. She came and attended some functions and left for Lucknow,” Gaur said.
District Magistrate Sheetal Verma says she constituted four teams to catch these dogs. The special team has come from Mathura. The official claims that the team has caught so far 24 dogs but in the same vein admit the menace is far from over.
The bigger question is why all of a sudden the stray dogs have started attacking children. Villagers say that near Khairabad graveyard illegal slaughter house was in operation and these dogs used to get food from there. Once the slaughter houses have been closed the dogs are no longer getting their food and have started attacking children.
Chief Veterinary Officer DR P K Mishra said that this is the mating season of dogs. Generally they become ferocious at this time and this could be another reason.