A 12-year-old girl was allegedly mauled to death by a pack of feral dogs in Sitapur district on Sunday. According to the police, thirteen children have been killed in such attacks over the last month.
The incident took place just two days after Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath visited one of the villages where such deaths have been reported and met family members of the deceased children. He had also instructed the concerned authorities to ensure that children in these villages be accompanied by adults whenever they step out of their homes, and that village security committees are on patrol.
District Magistrate Sheetal Verma had earlier told The Indian Express that 22 villages were under threat from dog attacks. The district administration was also asked to make these villages open defecation-free as most of the attacks had taken place when the children went out to relieve themselves.
“At around 9 am on Sunday, 12-year-old Reena was attacked around 700-800 mts away from her house. She was out with 3-4 of her friends and was on her way to the fields when she was attacked by a pack of 3-4 dogs. The other children went back to the village to inform locals who rushed to the spot, but Reena had died by then,” said Sitapur Superintendent of Police (SP) Sureshrao A Kulkarni.
“The dogs were nowhere to be seen when the villagers reached the spot. Just like the other deceased children, Reena too was attacked on the back of her neck. The dogs kill the kids and escape, they don’t eat them. Even bodies of goats that have been attacked were left uneaten,” Kulkarni added.
The SP however claimed that the number of feral dogs on the loose was decreasing. Meanwhile, Sitapur Nagar Circle Officer (CO) Yogendra Singh said that around 100 agitated villagers blocked the NH-24 on Sunday, alleging that the district administration was not doing enough to stop these attacks. “The protest went on for around two hours. The villagers alleged that we are not removing dogs from their villages. However, we talked to them and told them that it is hard for us to catch the rogue dogs as there is no way to identify which dogs are attacking the children. However, we convinced them that we taking every possible step to stop this menace,” Singh said, adding that the situation was now under control.