On March 31, four-year-old Dharmesh was mauled by two stray dogs while playing outside his home in Umra area of Surat. After hearing his cries , neighbours rescued him, but the boy succumbed to injuries in the hospital.
A few months ago in Surat’s Gopipura area, five dogs were given poison laced biscuits leading to their death. It has been learnt that residents of the area were annoyed with a regular spate in dog attacks on bike riders and children playing on the streets.
Animal activists had lodged a complaint in this regard with Athwalines police station, but Inspector D P Vaghela then told The Indian Express that the case was against unknown persons who remained undetected.
Due to lack or ineffectiveness of action plan to control the stray dog, similar incidents have been reported from different parts of Gujarat over the last two years.
Around 40 villagers of Dholai in Navsari district were attacked by three stray dogs on March 8 and March 9. Suspecting the dogs were rabid, the villagers killed them.
In Vadodara, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s Public School at Makarpura had discontinued its lunch facility after eight-year-old Mehnaz Jamali was mauled by the stray dogs inside the school compound in July 2014. She had sustained injuries to stomach, chest, arms, legs and pinna, besides a gash on her skull. The then principal, Hemant Kumar, had to resign after agitation by parents.
After the incident, the District Collector had directed all schools to ensure that the strays were kept out of the school premises by proper fencing and cleanliness. Principal Swapan Mukherjee, who took charge in January 2015, said, “Mid-day meal for the day scholars was discontinued before I took over. Today, the fences have been fortified and we ensure that no stray dog enters the school campus. If we spot any stray dog, we call the VMC.”
In March this year, as many as seven people were injured in separate cases of dog attacks. In one of the instances, a stray dog attacked four persons, including two children.
Between April and December 2015, the VMC recorded 4,300 cases of dog bites, including the November attack on the one-year-old son of an Army hawaldar. Last May, one-and-a half year-old Payal Tadvi, daughter of a construction labourer couple, was killed by stray dogs on the first floor of an under construction building in Salabatpura area of Surat.
Deaths due to dog bites have also been reported from Valsad and Navsari districts.
Nine-year-old girl Kenny Patel, resident of Malvan village in Valsad district, went to answer nature’s call in the open in April 2015. She was mauled by around 10 dogs, leading to her immediate death. Three-year-old Mariyam Shaikh of Haripura area in Surat also died due to dog bite in Surat city a couple of months ago.