Hyderabad: There is no end to stray dog menace in Hyderabad and other parts of Telangana despite a series of shocking incidents this year that have claimed lives of at least four children.
Every day, the state capital and other urban areas in the state report dozens of dog bite cases. Citizens say that despite measures announced by authorities, the menace continues to haunt them.
Watch: Stray dog attacks child in Hyderabad’s Tappachabutra
Hyderabad had hit the national headlines in February this year with a horrific incident in which a four-year-old boy was mauled to death by a pack of stray dogs.
The heart-wrenching incident had occurred on February 19 in a car servicing centre where the boy’s father was working as a watchman.
The helpless child being surrounded by strays, pouncing on him and biting him all over the body leading to his death highlighted how serious the menace is in the city.
The shocking incident evoked public outrage, triggered a debate on how to check the menace and the usual man versus dog argument.
The death of Pradeep on February 19 was the second such incident in Hyderabad in less than a year.
In April 2022, stray dogs mauled to death a two-year-old boy in Bada Bazar area of Golconda. Anas Ahmed, who was playing near his house, was attacked by a pack of dogs. They dragged him to an adjoining military area.
The toddler sustained grievous injuries and died before he could be taken to hospital.
Disturbing CCTV visuals of the hapless child being attacked and dragged by dogs into the bushes had emerged.
This incident had triggered public outrage in the area. The dog catching teams were pressed into service in the immediate aftermath of the incident but within a few days, the problem was forgotten.
After the February 19 incident, municipal authorities had announced new measures to check the menace of stray dogs but citizens say the measures have not resulted in any change on ground.
A five-year-old boy succumbed to rabies in Khammam district in March. He was bit by stray dogs and later developed symptoms of rabies.
On May 19, an eight-year-old boy was mauled to death by a pack of stray dogs near Kazipet railway station in Hanamkonda.
The victim was the son of migrant labourers from Uttar Pradesh. A pack of stray dogs pounced on the boy, who was sleeping alone under a tree. The hapless boy could not escape and died on the spot.
This was the second incident in Warangal district in as many months. A child had succumbed to his injuries sustained in an attack by stray dogs in April.
Last month, a five-year-old boy was injured in an attack by a stray dog in Hyderabad.
Horrific visuals of the dog pouncing on the child and biting him were caught on CCTV camera. The incident occurred in the Tappachabutra area.
In the video clip widely shared on social media, a child is seen walking behind his mother. Suddenly a stray dog pounced on the child. The hapless boy fell on the ground. Hearing his cries, the woman rushed to save him. The dog then tried to attack the woman but was chased by a person present nearby.
The boy sustained injuries on his face and neck. The family has reportedly spent Rs 3 lakh on the surgery
The incident triggered public outrage over social media. Netizens slammed the municipal authorities for failing to check the dog menace despite a series of incidents.
Telangana stands eighth in the country in terms of dog bite cases. The state had recorded 80,281 cases of dog bites in 2022, a big jump from 24,000 in 2021. However, the municipal officials say the comparison would be incorrect as 2021 was a pandemic period when there was lesser animal-human conflict.
According to officials, 1.6 lakh dog bite cases were registered in 2019 and compared to pre-Covid years, the cases have come down by 50 per cent.
The municipal authorities had revealed in February that the Telangana capital has 5.50 lakh stray dogs. According to them, this figure was 8.50 lakh in 2011 but their population reduced with the successful Animal Birth Control-cum-Anti Rabies (ABC-AR) programme.
Officials say that 65 per cent of stray dogs have been sterilised under the ABC programme. Following the February 19 incident, the municipal officials have ordered 100 per cent sterilisation.
The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) decided to increase the number of sterilisations to 400 per day from 150.
The child’s killing also sparked demands from citizens to relocate stray dogs from their areas. However, the GHMC officials were in a dilemma as they can’t relocate stray dogs even after ABC-AR procedure.
The guidelines of Animal Welfare Board of India and the Supreme Court say that stray dogs can neither be shifted to deserted areas nor abandoned on city outskirts.
As per the guidelines of Animal Welfare Board of India, street dogs should be left within 100 meter radius from the pickup places.
Experts say dumping of garbage on streets and open places and hotels, function halls, chicken and mutton shops throwing waste on roads are the biggest reasons for the increasing population of stray dogs.
The municipal authorities have been directed to restrict hotels, restaurants, function halls, chicken and mutton shops within the GHMC limits from dumping waste on streets.
The officials have been told to take action against establishments that dispose garbage on streets as it attracts stray dogs.
Officials were advised to take control measures with the help of Slum Development Federations, Town Development Federations and Resident Colony Welfare Associations within the limits of the city and neighboring municipalities. It was announced that measures in other municipalities in the state will be taken up with the help of self-help groups.
It was also proposed that a mobile app will be created for registration of pets in Hyderabad and surrounding municipalities.
This was felt necessary in view of the incidents involving pets. In one such incident in Hyderabad in January, a 23-year-old food delivery boy died after jumping off the third floor of a building out of fear when a pet dog charged at him.
After battling for life for four days, Mohammed Rizwan breathed his last. He had gone to an apartment building in Banjara Hills to deliver a parcel.