Two-year-old girl dies in attack by a pack of dogs in Delhi's Tughlak Lane | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times

Two-year-old girl dies after being attacked by a pack of dogs in Delhi's Tughlak Lane

Feb 26, 2024 09:36 AM IST

A two-year-old girl was mauled to death by street dogs in Delhi. Police have registered a case and begun an investigation into the incident.

A two-year-old girl was allegedly mauled to death by a pack of street dogs in Tughlak Lane in Lutyens’ Delhi on Saturday evening, police said on Sunday, adding that they had registered a case and started an investigation.

The girl’s parents wash clothes of the local residents, and theylive in a shanty in Tughlak Lane.(Representational image)
The girl’s parents wash clothes of the local residents, and theylive in a shanty in Tughlak Lane.(Representational image)

The girl’s parents wash clothes of the local residents, and theylive in a shanty in Tughlak Lane.

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A senior officer said the incident was reported at around 7pm on Saturday. “When police reached the spot, they were informed that the girl was taken to a nearby hospital. The family members at the hospital informed the police that she had been declared dead on arrival,” the officer said.

Tek Chand, 42, the minor’s unclesaid the girl had stepped out of her home to play around 6.30pm.

“She was only a few metres outside the house when five dogs attacked her. They bit her and dragged her for about 100 metres towards the boundary wall of the dhobhi ghat,” Chand said.

A man passing by on a bicycle raised an alarm after which locals and the girl’s family, who were inside the house, rushed out to rescue her.

Chand and other residents of the neighbourhood alleged that the dogs were being sheltered “by a person who lived in a nearby bungalow”.

“About a month ago, the dogs had also attacked another child in the locality,” Chand said.

Deputy commissioner of police (New Delhi), Devesh Mahla, said a case under Section 304A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) had been registered. “We have received a complaint from the parents. Further investigation is underway,” he said.

Investigators also said that they were looking into the allegations levelled by the residents of the Tughlak Lane slums.

“There is no law on feeding a dog and places earmarked for it. Therefore, we are seeking legal opinion on the matter,” the officer said.

The girl’s post-mortem examination was conducted at Safdarjung Hospital, after which the body was handed over to the family.

To be sure, strict laws govern what action authorities can take to control street dogs. They can’t be exterminated or shipped out; there are legal restrictions against both. According to guidelines laid down by the Animal Welfare Board of India and Prevention of Cruelty (Animal Birth Control) Rules, 2023, a civic body can pick up dogs to sterilise them, but after surgery and recovery, they must be released in the same area.

In July 2021, the Delhi high court in an 86-page judgement, clarified that citizens had the right to feed and dogs had a right to access food, but at the same time, the exercise should not cause inconvenience or infringe upon the rights of others. For this, it had asked the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) to designate feeding spots in neighbourhoods, which were less frequented by people and were further away from households.

Delhi mayor Shelly Oberoi met the toddler’s family on Sunday evening and said the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) will discuss controlling stray animal populations with NDMC.

Oberoi said, “We will talk to Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal about this and try to help the girl’s family. The place where this incident took place is an NDMC area. We have directed MCD officialsto hold talks with their NDMC counterparts and the NDMC chairperson and rid Delhi of the problem of stray animals. We will focus on the safety of children as well as the interests of animal lovers.”

NDMC officials, for their part, said the dogs in the neighbourhood have all been neutered and vaccinated.

“After spot verification, our team found that dogs were operated and vaccinated. But it was also found that some cottages/temporary dog shelters had been set up to feed stray dogs,” a NDMC official said. “No permission had been granted to erect this temporary shelter by the competent authority.”

A sub-committee constituted by the Delhi assembly in 2020 estimated that NDMC areas were home to about 8,000 street dogs.

Animal activist Gauri Maulekhi said feeding strays or designating feeding points were inconsequential to such conflicts, stressing that the real problem lay with poor implementation of sterilisation in Delhi.

“There are around 16 animal birth control (ABC) centres in Delhi that have been nearly non-functional for the last decade. Hardly any sterilisation is taking place and there is limited outreach or conflict resolution at the moment. Feeding strays makes most strays friendlier and easier to catch for surgeries,” she said.

Activist Sonya Ghosh said, “If we look at veterinary hospitals under the animal husbandry department, there are 77 such hospitals in Delhi. Most of them are failing to perform their designated role. Even if 10 sterilisations were done each day by these centres, the stray dog population would come down drastically. The chief minister needs to ask the animal husbandry department to do its role properly,” she said.

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