Hyderabad: With dog attack incidents souring in the city, another deer at the University of Hyderabad (UoH) campus was attacked, by a pack of stray dogs on Saturday evening.
Dog attack incidents at the UoH have been gaining the spotlight since 2016.
The incident was captured by a native of a gated community, Aparna Sarovar, in the neighbourhood of the varsity who recorded the feral dogs brutally attacking the animal.
Speaking to Siasat.com, the man, who wished to remain unnamed, narrated that around 5:30 pm on Saturday, a pack of stray dogs cornered a deer and attacked the stranded animal, dragging it towards the boundary.
The man stated that almost one hour after the incident, a few workers from the university came to rescue the deer, the certainty of whose survival is yet to be known.
Over 300 deer died at University of Hyderabad in last 5 years
The native who enjoys taking a glance at the university’s greenery every now and then from his apartment, stated that such incidents at the campus are not unusual with the situation now getting chilly as the frequency of dog attacks seems to surge.
“This happens once every month and the main cause is the construction sites around the university with zero regard towards endangering animal life and measures towards it,” he said.
However, the university officials denied the scene stating that no security personnel had witnessed any attack on their campus nor had they received any complaints over the same.
The chilling video recorded at least six dogs attacking the lone animal.
When this reporter contacted GHMC’s chief veterinary officer, Dr Abdul Wakil, he said that more than 90 percent of dogs at the university have been sterilized.
The officer further said that dogs are territorial in nature and wage attack only if they sense a threat of their area being overtaken.
Dr Abdul Wakil hence attributed aggressive behaviour in the animals to be directly proportional to food wastage.
“People spilling food in the surrounding area of campus can be a major cause behind multiple dogs gathering in one place,” said the doctor.
“If they don’t find food in one place, they won’t gather, and this way many incidents of attacks can be avoided,” added Dr Wakil.
Claiming that the dogs become docile after sterilization, Dr Wakil said that chances are low that these animals would attack after the procedure as aggression hormones releasing organs themselves are removed from their body.
“However, these animals are carnivorous in nature and behaviour cannot be ascertained entirely,” said the doctor.
The official further assured of carrying out a ‘combining operation’ and deploying a team to check if any dog around the university was left unsterilized.
Over 30 deer die every year at the University of Hyderabad
Cases of feral dogs killing a spotted deer at the University of Hyderabad campus isn’t isolated incident. Varsity students say at least 30 to 40 of these animals die every year, mostly due to attacks by dogs.
In fact, according to a 2022 report by Wild Lens, a biodiversity conservation group run by UoH students, at least 250 to 300 spotted deer have died on campus in the last five years.
Apart from deer, dogs also frequently kill monitor lizards and mammals like wild boars.
Earlier, the students complained that despite multiple requests to the GHMC from students and management, little action has been taken to resolve the issue.
A student reasoned that deer are usually attacked by feral dogs during summer due to water scarcity as most of the dogs try to protect the scarce water resources from wild animals in the dense forest area within the campus.
University students noted a change in dog behaviours post-pandemic
General secretary of the UoH Students’ Union, Kripa, who dealt with the recent dog menace at the varsity, told Siasat.com that when students were suggested not feed the dogs, they claimed that the eating habits of dogs changed after the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Earlier, they use to eat rice, but now they refuse to eat it all. Hence, the students hardly get to feed them,” said Kripa.
When asked about the measures taken by varsity officials, a recent pass-out from the University, Shiva said, “No measures have been taken by authorities so far as they were interrupted by animal lovers and activists wherever they tried to take action.”
“Although they maintained sign boards and arranged food for the deers on the campus, no measures have been taken to ensure their safety,” added Shiva.
UoH asked students not to feed stray dogs
After several dog bite cases were reported in the city, the University of Hyderabad in March asked staff and students to refrain from feeding stray dogs on the campus.
The university has coordinated with the GHMC to rule out the issue and requested its people to avoid feeding stray dogs in hostels, corridors, and residences.
However, the declaration turned controversial after animal activists raised questions as to how dogs can be considered a menace.
They held that all dogs cannot be labelled dangerous as few of them have turned violent, while a few also claimed that such advice can do more harm than good as starving dogs can lead to an increase in dog bites.
GHMC in action over dog attacks
After a 5-year-old was mauled to death by dogs in the city in February, Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) is intensifying measures to control the dog menace in the city by amping up the Animal Birth Control operations and Anti Rabies Vaccinations (ABC and ARV).
The corporation announced its decision to engage eight additional private veterinarians besides the existing 16 veterinarians.
The name of ‘Dog catching squad’ has been changed to ‘GHMC dog birth control unit’
An additional 20 dog-catching vehicles will be added to the existing fleet of 30. The GHMC workers will extend their operations to catch dogs into the evenings.
According to the GHMC chief vet, Wakil, over 400 dogs are caught by the GHMC squad each day while 300 are sterilized.
In addition to this, vaccination of dogs along with booster doses for those already vaccinated is also uptaken by GHMC on a regular basis.
“The newly added labourers are also being trained in dog-catching techniques, while many are deployed in the night shift of dog-catching vehicles team,” informed Abdul Wakil.
Apart from their regular teams, GHMC has tied up with multiple NGOs who aid in discharging the functions of sterilizing dogs across the GHMC zone.
“Five NGOs in each GHMC zone have deployed their own vehicles and manpower to catch dogs, operate them, place ear notch on them, take care of them until they are fit to be let out, and finally relocate them to the area they were bought from,” briefed the GHMC official.
Talking about the awareness drives uptaken by GHMC, the official said that so far 28,000 students have been educated in 1100 schools about the dos and don’ts of owning and behaving around the animals.
Relocation is not a solution to curb dog menace
Although the GHMC department receives multiple requests and complaints regarding dogs scarring people in parks, localities, etc, the officials say that neither recollection is as easy nor is it permitted by law or is a solution to curb the menace.
Asked if they can be shifted outside the city or state, officials stated that the act is against interstate laws, adding that the biggest challenge they face is creating awareness of law and order among citizens.