The death of two children in Vasant Kunj due to dog bites this month wasn’t a rare, one-off incident in the Capital. Attacks by stray dogs have become very common in various places in Delhi.
Shivam Sharma, who lives at Mandi House, says incidents of dog attacks are regular in his housing society.
“There is a problem of dogs in the Mandi House area where I live with my family. Recently, I saw an incident in my own society where a retired gentleman was bitten on his leg by three black stray dogs. There’s always an incident of dog biting every couple of days. The main problem occurs at night when the dogs gather and howl,” said Sharma, who is a medical practitioner.
Further down in east Delhi’s Mayur Vihar Phase-3, Gautam, a retired serviceman, was at the receiving end of attack by dogs.
“I was going to my building and, at the entrance, there were dogs barking and growling aggressively. Within seconds, the dogs attacked me on my legs. I was badly hurt and had bite marks too. After that, I rushed to the hospital to get vaccinated and to get the bruises cured,” he recalled.
Gautam said that there have been 45 cases of dog bites in his immediate neighbourhood over the last one year.
Statistics from hospitals prove that the number of incidents is big enough to be a cause for concern. Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital and Safdarjung Hospital have reported close to 50,000 dog bite cases over the last six months as per official records.
Records from the government’s National Institute of Health and Family Welfare state that cases registered for dog bites are way more than the cases of bites from other animals such as monkeys or cats.
Amit Kumar, vice-president of pocket A-2 Resident Welfare Association in Mayur Vihar Phase-3, threw light on the issue and stressed that the focus should be on the adoption of dogs.
“This problem has persisted in our area for the last one year and is increasing at a rapid rate. We have been trying to control it by taking several initiatives such as sterilisation and vaccination of dogs at regular intervals. Over the last one year, we have recorded 103 cases of dog bites in our society. We aren’t able to do much because of the strict animal laws since it is illegal to abandon stray dogs. There are activists working for the protection of dogs,” said Kumar.
He also said that feeding of dogs is creating nuisance.
“Another problem we are encountering is that the residents are providing dogs with meat and other non-vegetarian items and that can make them violent. We have also spent a lot of money on vaccination of dogs to ensure that they become less violent in nature. It would be really great if residents from all across the blocks come up and try adopting these stray dogs and treat them in a rightful manner,” he added.
Provisions have also been enacted in the Indian constitution to control animal birth. The Animal Birth Control (Dog) Rule, 2001, published under section 38 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, is to be implemented by the local authority to control the population of stray dogs.
The implementation is expected to help in the reduction of dog population by sterilisation and minimisation of stray dogs with the support of different NGOs and other private organisations which work for the support and assistance of these stray animals. Rules 9 and 10 of Animal Birth Control (Dogs) rule, 2001 also emphasise on the controlling and killing of incurably ill, mortally wounded and rabid dogs.
However, incidents have increased gradually in recent times and went unnoticed till the deaths in Vasant Kunj happened.
On March 10 and 12, siblings Aditya and Anand were attacked by dogs and were found dead near their home in Sindhi Basti, Vasant Kunj.
Sushma, the mother of the kids, narrated, “Anand left home at 9:30 am on March 10 to play with his friends and I was doing my daily chores. When people from an NGO that provides food arrived, I told [neighbour] Sanju to call Anand but she found that Anand wasn’t around.”
She then went looking for Anand along with her neighbours.
“Even after searching for 4-5 hours, we weren’t able to find him. We then decided to contact the police, so that they would help us in finding my child. The police eventually found the body of Anand near a wall.”
Exactly the same incident happened on March 12 with Sushma’s elder son, Aditya.
The neighbour Sanju saw the corpse.
“Aditya had gone to fill water from the well and was expected to return home soon. However, when he didn’t reach home, we started to look for him and after some time, we found his body near the wall inside a plot with injuries that were similar to those on Anand’s body. We also saw that 7-8 dogs were circling Aditya’s body,” recalled Sanju.
Sushma informed further that both her children had similar injury marks on their stomach and the bodies had turned black in colour. The incident was the first of its kind in the area, where the family has lived for only six months. After the first incident on March 10, locals informed the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), which sent its dog catching squad and a total of 19 dogs were captured. Following Aditya’s death on March 12, officials captured another 35 stray dogs.
Post-mortem has been done and its report will be handed over to the family soon.