After a Rottweiler belonging to residents of a bungalow on Ghodbunder Road, Thane, was attacked up by leopards last week, residents of the area are worried about their own safety.
Cocoa, the one-year-old Rottweiler of Santosh and Aarti Notiyal Gupta, was sleeping outside the house because he had an infection on his right leg.
In the morning, the dog’s partially eaten carcass was found a kilometre away from the house.
Blurry footage from a CCTV installed in the premises show two animals attacking Cocao around 11.35pm on Thursday. “The images were dark, as neither the streetlights nor the driveway lights were on when the attack took place,” said Gupta. “When some light from inside the house fell on the driveway, we could identify a leopard and her cub attacking Cocoa.”
Gupta said the locals had told them that leopards had been seen roaming in the area regularly in search of food. According to residents, at least 10 stray dogs have gone missing from the area.
“Initially, my dog kept barking at something outside the gate, but we didn’t pay attention. The leopards were hidden behind our car and pounced on Cocoa as soon as he stopped barking,” she said.
CCTV images showed that even after the mother took the prey and left the bungalow premises, the cub continued to play in the lawn of the house. “Close to two hours after the attack, the mother returned for the cub,” said Gupta.
Residents said they had filed complaints with forest authorities, but substantial efforts have not been made to address the situation.
KP Singh, chief conservator of forest, Thane wildlife range, said, “We will be sending a rescue team to the location to create a detailed report regarding Thursday night’s incident.”
Singh said depending on the location, the forest department will be initiating camera-trapping exercise to identify the threat to residential localities. “If incidents such as this continue, we may need to take immediate action at the site,” he said.
There have been three similar attacks where pet dogs have been attacked and eaten. “What if the leopards turn to humans? Should I be scared about my daughters?” asked Gupta.
“Leopard sightings are common in the area, but because of regular attacks on pets, a lot of residents have started relocating their dogs to farm houses or shelters. However, in most areas, proper fencing and security are in place,” said a resident from the area where a leopard was caught on a CCTV camera last month.
This is not the first instance of the wild cat being spotted in the residential area. .
A leopard was caught on a CCTV camera last month, wandering outside an apartment complex just five minutes away from Thursday night’s incident.
The footage shows a sleeping dog inside the gate, startled by the leopard pawing at the grill.