Dogs captured by teams deployed for the purpose recently. The authorities intend to sterilise the animals before releasing them into the wild again.(HT Photo)
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Canine menace: Two more kids killed by feral dogs in Sitapur villages

Death toll climbs to 11 over the last six months. Infuriated villagers launch their own hunt, threaten to agitate against district administration’s failure to curb menace.
By Rohit K Singh | Hindustan Times, Lucknow
UPDATED ON MAY 04, 2018 04:43 PM IST

Two more children were killed by packs of feral dogs in Uttar Pradesh’s Sitapur district on Friday morning, indicating that the canine threat looming over the region is far from over.

Authorities identified the victims as Geeta (7) and Virendra (12), hailing from Mahsinghpur and Budhanapur villages respectively. Two more children were also critically injured in other canine attacks across the district.

On May 1, feral dogs had killed three children aged between 11 and 12 years in separate incidents across Tikaria, Gurpulia and Kholia in Sitapur. Mahsinghpur, Budhanpur, Chaubeypur and Peerpur, where the fresh attacks occurred on Friday morning, are located within 18 kilometres of those villages.

The attacks took place even as district administration authorities and a four-member team of dogcatchers were combing forested zones in the area for feral canines.

“All the victims were alone when they were attacked by dogs. The villagers rushed to their aid after hearing their cries, but failed to save them,” said Sitapur city magistrate Harsh Dev Pandey. Infuriated villagers have begun hunting down dogs in the area, and threatened to launch a mass agitation against the district administration’s failure curb the menace.

Khairabad station house officer (SHO) Sachin Kumar Singh said Geeta, the daughter of Sushil Shah from Mahsinghpur village, was killed by a pack of feral dogs while she was gathering mangoes in an orchard near her house around 6.30 am. An 11-year-old girl called Rinki – the daughter of one Tejpal – was also injured in a similar attack at Chaubeypur village, he added.

Sitapur Kotwali SHO Dharmendra Singh Raghuvanshi said the second victim, Virendra, was killed by dogs while he had gone to attend nature’s call barely 150 metres from his house at Budhanapur village round 7 am. Another boy injured in Peerpur village was identified as Vinkal, the seven-year-old son of one Ram Khelawan.

Local residents claim that 17 children have been killed so far by around 100 dogs that run amok in a radius of 20 kilometres from Khairabad and Sitapur Kotwali. Police, for their part, have pegged the toll at 11 in the last six months (inclusive of the latest casualties).

The canine menace in Sitapur district took root when many slaughterhouses, which used to double as a source of food for stray dogs, were either closed or shifted. The beasts became desperate in the months that followed, and eventually began preying on children.

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