Closure of abattoirs cause of dog attacks: Sitapur admin

Sergio Conner
May 8, 2018

The Uttar Pradesh Police will be deploying drones and night vision devices from Monday to tackle with the menace of feral dogs after 6 children were killed and 7 others injured in the past 6 days in Sitapur district of the state. This was a day after dogs killed two children and wounded as many. Locals claim that 17 children have been killed since November previous year but police put the toll at 12.

It is not known how many dogs were involved in the attacks, but strays are a widespread problem in India, where millions of the animals roam loose in packs. The feral dogs often survive on leftover food set in alleys for them, but also face relentless cruelty by people, and regularly fight other dogs over territory.

Singh said a survey by police teams suggested that the canine menace existed mainly in around 20 villages under three police stations - Sitapur Kotwali, Khairabad and Talgaon - within a 20-km radius in Sitapur district. While dog bites are common, a string of fatalities in one area is rare.

Some in the area believe the attacks began after a nearby illegal slaughterhouse was closed, making the dogs more aggressive after they were left without a major source of food. Similarly private schools should also ensure safety of children.

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Some onlookers who saw the dog carrying the dead baby were able to chase the dog away, but local officials said they found the body to be in "disturbing" condition.

Education officials said some schools had seen a significant drop in attendance because of the attacks. As per government claim 12 childern have died between November and May but local say this number is much more.

Harshdeo Pandey, a Sitapur magistrate, said villagers had been told not to allow their children to use outhouses on their own. "Teams of villagers have also been constituted to assist these teams", said the DM.

It is not clear what measures villagers in northern India plan to take against the pack of dogs that have been killing children, but in the past there have been efforts to exterminate these stray dogs both through capturing and euthanizing them or by sterilizing the dogs.

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