Hyderabad: In a distressing incident that sent shock waves across Telangana, a four-year-old child has been mauled to death by stray dogs here, prompting strong public reactions as some even described the menace as ‘terror’.
While a video of the child falling prey to the canines has gone viral, Telangana Minister K T Rama Rao termed the incident ”unfortunate” and said he was ”pained” over the episode while the city civic body assured of steps to prevent recurrence of such attacks.
Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation Mayor Gadwal Vijayalakshmi, who also termed the incident as unfortunate, told reporters that there is no negligence on the part of GHMC, adding the civic body is taking all precautions.
Asked about the reasons for the dogs to attack the child, the Mayor said it was not exactly clear but citing preliminary information she said an elderly woman had been regularly feeding meat to four dogs in that area.
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”She (the elderly woman) was not to be seen there for the past two days. The dogs got used to (eating) meat. It was suspected that the dogs might have been hungry and apparently due to hunger or some other reason they got ferocious and attacked the boy.” Many people took to social media and said stray dog attacks have become a menace in many cities and and urged the government to immediately put an end to the issue here.
In the video clip that has gone viral, the canines are seen suddenly attacking the boy while tailing him, following which he falls down. He was walking alone.
The unrelenting pack of strays keep mauling him even as there was nobody in sight that could come to his rescue.
The child was apparently carrying a packet containing some food item when the dogs pounced on him, a GHMC official said.
The incident, which occurred at Amberpet locality on Sunday, was caught on a CCTV camera.
The boy’s father, who works as a security guard at a car service centre, had taken him and his six-year-old daughter to his workplace located in the area.
The victim suffered serious injuries in the attack and was rushed to the hospital by his father and others where he was declared brought dead, the official said.
”I took my son and daughter to my workplace. After some time my daughter came and told me that my son was attacked by street dogs. Then I rushed to the spot. I put my bleeding son on my shoulders and took him to the hospital, but no use. I wish no one faces such a situation,” he said.
The boy’s sister said she saw dogs surrounding her bother and nobody was there to rescue him.
The family hails from Nizamabad district in the state.
A watchman told media that the boy was playing near the centre and later after some time the dogs suddenly attacked him.
Reacting to the incident, Minister Rama Rao said, ”It is (an) unfortunate incident… I really felt pained about (it). The street dog menace — we have been trying to tackle in our municipalities across the state. We have created Animal Care Centres, Animal Birth Centres. We regularly conduct birth control operations of street dogs. But when these incidents happen it creates an uproar and furore”.
Rama Rao offered his condolences to the family and said ”we will ensure our best is done so that these incidents do not recur. Biological waste disposal also needs to be increased. We will do everything in my capacity so that it does not repeat again. I can’t bring back the child but my sincere condolences to the family”.
Mayor Vijayalakshmi said every precaution will be taken to ensure such incidents do not recur.
She further said over four lakh dogs have been sterilised in the city out of the estimated dog population of 5.7 lakh.
The Mayor said dog adoption is the best thing and dog lovers can take them to their homes that will ensure that the number of stray dogs coming to streets will reduce.
Condemning the incident, members of Aam Aadmi Party Telangana unit held a demonstration in front of GHMC office holding placards that read ”Child’s death after being attacked by street dogs due to negligence of GHMC is government murder.” The family of the child should be given Rs 50 lakh ex-gratia and double bedroom house, they further demanded.
Following the incident, a dog-catching drive, which is regularly taken up was also undertaken in the area as per the guidelines and over 30 street dogs were caught for sterilisation in the last two days, but most of them were found to be sterilised, the official said adding the dogs were subsequently released.
The issue echoed in the virtual space with many netizens expressing concern over the child’s death.
People took to Twitter and requested state Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan to instruct the GHMC authorities to take necessary action. Some others requested Minister Rama Rao to look into the matter and conduct an enquiry on the department and take action.
A Twitter user wrote: ”This issue is everywhere in Hyderabad. Not sure what the concerned department officials/staff doing to control these stray dogs. @KTRBRS request you to look in to this matter & conduct an enquiry on the department & take action. Very sad to know that 4 yr boy lost his life.”
Another user said: ”Terror of stray dogs in several places of #Hyderabad. What is your plan to stop stray dogs menace Municipal Development Minister @KTRBRS. Kindly instruct staff to immediately attend all stray dogs menace complaints in the city & state.”
Another user tweeted saying, ”4-yr-old boy was killed by stray dogs in Hyderabad. 21 deaths, over 2 lac dog bites in Kerala in 2022…” Some users drew the attention of animal welfare organisations and animal lovers to the incident and asked them to consider how dangerous it gets.