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Family of three held hostage in car for feeding stray dogs

Residents of Vatika G21 Apartments in Sector 83 on Monday evening disallowed a family of three that stays there from entering the complex for feeding stray dogs in the area, said police, adding that a case has been registered against unidentified persons under sections of molestation and rioting, based a complaint from the family
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 11:30 PM IST

Residents of Vatika G21 Apartments in Sector 83 on Monday evening disallowed a family of three that stays there from entering the complex for feeding stray dogs in the area, said police, adding that a case has been registered against unidentified persons under sections of molestation and rioting, based a complaint from the family.

While residents of the condominium alleged that stray dogs had attacked over 20 people over the last three months, the police said that the family, of a couple and their three-year-old daughter, was held hostage in their car for nearly five hours.

The family recorded a video of the incident and posted it on social media platforms, where it was widely shared. The woman’s husband said he had also started a live session from inside the car to seek police intervention and show their plight.

Members of the residents’ welfare association (RWA) said that they had asked the family not to feed the strays, but despite repeated requests, they did not pay heed. “Stray dogs are attacking residents. Even a day before (the incident), one of the residents was bitten,” an RWA member said, requesting anonymity.

Praveen Kumar, another resident of the society, said that he had also filed a police complaint against the couple. “The couple lives in another block and I had already warned them several times not to do any activity outside my apartment. If they want to feed the stray dogs, why should they target another block?” he said.

Incidents pertaining to stray dogs continue to create friction among residents of societies. A man was arrested in 2019 for allegedly hiring people to beat stray dogs, after several residents complained that the dogs were missing from the area.

The woman from the family of three that was denied entry said that they were intercepted by a mob of residents and prevented from getting to their residence. “They started getting violent and abusive, and women attacked us with an intention to cause physical harm and to kill my husband and daughter. A dog I was feeding and I tried to break through. When we tried to escape, they deflated our car tyres. Some of them tried to snatch my daughter also. All the men and women held us hostage and in captivity in our car while they continued to push our car, bang on the windows and doors, attempting to break in and kill us,” the woman, the complainant in the case, said.

The family alleged that the police failed to ensure their safety, sided with the mob and asked them to seek their forgiveness. The complainant said they sought help from the assistant commissioner of police following which a woman constable arranged for a water bottle for the child.

“The police kept pressing us to step out, but I did not allow my husband to do that fearing for his and the rest of our lives,” she said. She also alleged that someone in the crowd threatened to rape her and murder her family to ensure that they stopped feeding the dogs.

“Around 11pm, the police were finally able to escort us home. The situation was so bad that police staff had to form a cordon around us while the crowd chanted and jeered,” she said.

A case under sections 147 (rioting), 149 (unlawful assembly), 341 (wrongful restraint), 354 (molestation) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code was registered at the Kherki Daula police station on Tuesday.

Police officials refuted the family’s allegations and had called the ACP due to the severity of the situation.

Krishan Kant, station house officer of Kherki Daula police station, said that they had tried to resolve the issue on Monday night and had dropped the family at their apartment. “We registered a case on Tuesday after we received a complaint,” he said.

Chetna Devendra Joshi, associate campaign manager, People For Animals, public policy foundation, and a representative of Animal Welfare Board of India in Gurugram, said that the conflict over street dogs is covered in entirety by the various orders of the Supreme Court of India vide SLP (C) 691/2009 and central acts such as PCA Act 1960. She said that Animal Birth Control Rules, 2001, promulgated under Section 38 of PCA Act, 1960, crystallises that the street dogs cannot be relocated, except for sterilisation.

“A lot of these incidents where societies and residents resort to acts of mobocracy against compassionate citizens — who take to looking after the street dogs around their residence, help with the implementation of animal birth control and also for rabies control via the yearly anti-rabies vaccine drives — stem largely out of intolerance and unawareness about the laws in place concerning the subject matter,” she said.

Dr Vivek Yadav, a veterinary surgeon from Badshahpur, said that dogs tend to aggressive behaviour and bite when they perceive a threat. “If the dog bites, first take medical aid and try to get in touch with the animal welfare body or the authorities so that they can check the reason for the attack and to ensure that the incident is not repeated in the future. The best practice is to avoid their territory if one is not pet friendly and one should not suddenly approach a stray,” he said.

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