The family of Raja, a resident of Verka, panics at the very sight of a stray dog. Reason: Raja contracted rabies after he saved a child from the jaws of a rabid dog a few years ago.
His family had to shell out a fortune for his treatment, which plunged them into a heavy financial debt, which they are still unable to clear. But, Raja could not be saved and lost his life to hydrophobia.
Simran, another resident of Verka, was very young when, finding her alone, stray dogs assailed her, dragging her a few feet away from her home. Simran suffered injuries in her head and arms due to the dog bites and had to be administered sutures. The incident has infused a fear of stray dogs in her.
In Batala, the stray dog menace has claimed three lives in the past two months, their latest victim being 12-year-old Hussan Singh, a resident of Shankarpura. Nine-year-old Manbir Singh, resident of Rarger Nangal village, was going to the village gurdwara, when a pack of stray dogs attacked him and killed him on the spot.
Harbans Singh, president, Senior Citizen Forum, alleged that the administration had turned a blind eye to the problem, which was taking a horrible shape as day by day, the number of victims was increasing. Pawan Kumar, former councillor, said that earlier the MC employees used to kill stray dogs, but a few years ago, the wildlife department passed a notification that stray dogs would not be killed.
Back in Amritsar, the claims of the municipal corporation about tackling the menace notwithstanding, the cases of dog bites are on the rise. While more than 1,600 cases of dog bites were reported last year, this year around 600 cases have already been registered.
Vaccines not there
Sources in the government hospitals in Amritsar and Batala said the hospitals had no stock of injections and medicines required to provide treatment to the victims of dog bites.
What the MC says
MC health officer Dr Yogesh Arora said the process of sterilisation of dogs would be started in a few days. "We are making the necessary preparations to embark on the project," he said.