Hundreds of residents of Ashok Vihar locality in the city have submitted a signed petition to the local police saying the bull mastiff dog that mauled an eight-year-old boy to death in the area on Saturday evening be killed immediately.
Meanwhile, forest officials refused to take custody of the bull mastiff saying the dogs are domestic animals and the department deals with wild animals only.
Following the forest department’s refusal to do so, police station-1 SHO Navdeep Singh tried to negotiate with the municipal corporation (MC) authorities to take custody of the dog.
MC’s assistant health officer Harjinder Singh said the civic body only dealt with stray dogs and not pets.
However, MC’s official website clearly states that it is mandatory to register pet animals with the civic body.
It further says if any pet creates nuisance for residents of an area, the MC would kill it after fulfilling the legal procedure.
“I am aware of the rule that says MC should register all pet animals but for the past many years the process has not been followed,” he said.
“The MC is responsible for controlling the stray dog menace and we do not deal with pet dogs. After this incident, it seems we will have to undertake the registration process of pet animals seriously,” he further said.
This is the first incident in the city when someone has lost life in a pet dog attack. Earlier, there have been incidents when some people lost their life to stray dog bites.
“We are aware of the problem city residents are facing due to the rising number of stray dogs. For this, the government is building a dog pen at Nangal Shama village. Officials will carry out sterilisation of stray dogs to keep a check on their population there,” Harjinder Singh further said.
The bull mastiff that killed the child has been kept in a cage.
The dog owner, Harkirat Singh Toor, has been arrested and sent to judicial custody till October 19.
He has been booked under section 304 (punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the IPC. Toor is the head of the Punjab BJP NRI cell.
A dog-pen situated in the Burlton Park was dismantled and currently MC has no dog pen at present to catch and put the stray dogs.
Sterilisation of dogs has not been carried out since 2006, adding to the massive population of stray dogs in the city.
Officials claim that registrations of pet dogs have not been carried out for some years.
Lack of proper regulation and monitoring by the MC over stray dogs leaves many of the dogs rabid. There is a sharp rise in the number of rabid dogs during summers and mating season, as dog fights are common during this time.
As per MC records, there are around 6,500 to 8,000 stray dogs in Jalandhar city. A local NGO puts the figure at 20,000
25-30 patients come to the Jalandhar civil hospital for treatment of dog bite on daily basis.
There are over 3,000 pet dogs in the city and none of them are registered with the MC