Stray dogs roaming the streets of Amritsar mauled two children in the city on Wednesday. While one incident was reported in Bhagtanwala area near the garbage dump, where corpses of dead animals are also dumped, the other took place at the district shopping complex, Ranjit Avenue, which houses some posh hotels and commercial establishments.
However, no deaths have been reported in both the instances so far though the incidents have again unleashed fear of the wandering canines in the hearts of the residents inhabiting these areas.
A recent census put the number of pie-dogs in Amritsar at more than 39,000. Dog bite cases in the city also number in thousands while deaths resulting from the same have struck fear in the hearts of residents concerning their safety and trust in the administration has only lessened with each passing day.
Even as the debate over the sterilisation of stray canines and their destruction as a public necessity continues to rage in the city, the Supreme Court has sought the responses of the Centre and the states on the issue.
In one dog bite case reported on Wednesday, 10-year-old Narinder Kumar, a resident of Bhagtanwala area, sustained injuries on his head, face, arms, legs and the rest of his body when stray dogs in the area attacked him. The child was chasing kites with his friends when all of a sudden stray dogs in the area surrounded and attacked him.
The rancorous pariah mutts dragged the child for some distance before ripping flesh off his head, face, arms and legs and leaving gaping wounds there. A few workers at the nearby Bhagtanwala grain market heard the child’s cries and witnessed him being assaulted by the dogs. They came out to rescue him and chased the dogs away.
The child was immediately rushed to the civil hospital for treatment. However, considering his weak physical state and numerous injuries, all that the doctors could do was apply balm on his wounds besides giving him injections. “His body is so full of wounds that the doctor said applying stitches was not an option,” said Anil Kumar, father of Narinder Kumar.
Giving details, Maneka, mother of Narinder Kumar, said even as her son was being treated, there was more to the family’s pain than the brutal injuries sustained by their child in the incident.
“Medical treatment has been started, but the injections that have been prescribed are very costly and hence, financially out of our reach,” she said. She added that the incident occurred at around 3pm on Wednesday. “Scarcely had the boy returned home from school and gone out to play with his friends than he was brought home all injured and bleeding,” said Maneka.
The residents of the area attributed the presence of stray dogs to the dumping of corpses of dead animals at the Bhagtanwala garbage dump. “Both the practice of dumping dead animals and the presence of stray dogs are in violation of the rules, but the municipal corporation authorities have never paid any attention to this problem despite being given repeated reminders,” said Sandeep Kurl, vice-president, Saanjhi Sangharsh Committee.
In the other case, a young boy was bitten by stray dogs while he was playing in the parking lot at the district shopping complex at Ranjit Avenue. Meanwhile, municipal commissioner Pradeep Sabharwal said an FIR had already been registered in connection with the dumping of corpses of dead animals at the Bhagtanwala garbage dump.
“We did our job by getting a case registered for investigating the dumping of corpses of dead animals at the Bhagtanwala garbage dump. Now it is the duty of the police to pursue the matter and take action against those responsible. The MC would soon start the process of sterilising stray dogs,” he said. “The MC is holding talks with various agencies to fund these operations,” he added.