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Pune residents blame PMC, pitch for concrete steps to check dog bite menace

While victims suffer and live in fear, activists advise bonding between dogs and humans

pune Updated: Oct 12, 2017 22:30 IST
Shalaka Shinde
Shalaka Shinde
Hindustan Times, Pune
Dog bite,Pune,Rabies
Members of a local animal welfare organisation hold a silent protest against the recent incidents reported from the city of dogs found poisoned and burnt to death, in Pune on Wednesday.(HT PHOTO)

Between Saturday morning and Sunday evening, four children and two women were bitten by stray dogs on the premises of Netaji Nagar society in Wanowrie. Of the four kids, one is a teenager while the three others are 6-7-year olds. One of the injured women is a 30-year-old sweeper from the area while the other woman is a 77-year-old mother of a resident of the society.

Mugdha Sameer Whaval (7), Arnav Mekarta (6) and Ria Yogesh Rathi (4) were playing in the vicinity around their society when the dogs attacked and bit them on Saturday. The children had to undergo anti-rabies treatment. Mekarta could not carry his school bag due to the bite he sustained on his shoulders when the dog attacked him and he fell on the ground before the animal mauled him, according to his parents who rushed to the spot.

Arnav Mekarta. (HT PHOTO)

Whaval’s injuries were covered by her dress but the dog bite left a deep gash in the 7-year-old’s armpit.“She is a cheerful girl and is appearing for her exams. However, at night when she sleeps, she wakes up in pain. She cannot even change sides while sleeping. She has to go through the painful process of taking anti-rabies shots,” said the mother of the child.

Mugdha Sameer Whaval (HT PHOTO)

Even though two animal welfare activists visited the society on Saturday, the incident of dog bite repeated itself on Sunday morning when a sweeper, an old lady and a college-going teenager was bitten.

Harsh Batham, 17, a first year Bachelor in Commerce student, was on his way to college when the dog bit the middle finger of his right hand and thigh. Batham’s examination began on Wednesday and his brother Harsh Chaudhury, 16, had to write the exam for him. Mangala Sarude, the 30-year-old sweeper who lives in a nearby slum and Asha Dharmalkar, 77, also sustained severe dog bite injuries.

Harsh Batham. (HT PHOTO)

“PMC is not doing their job regarding strays. The only solution to the problem is sterilisation. Mr Kunal Kumar (Pune Municipal Corporation commissioner) has to check who has the contract. The budget is getting passed. Why are the results not visible? Something is wrong in the process. Public should also be compassionate with the dogs,” said Amit Shah, lawyer and founder of Jeev Seva Foundation, an NGO for animals.

Asha Dharmalkar. (HT PHOTO)

However,Meher Mathrani, animal welfare officer (health) and head of AaCT India, another animal welfare NGO, claimed that the Animal Birth Control (ABC) programme of the PMC is the answer to this problem. However, it is under-funded, she added. Mathrani is a member of the monitoring committee for the ABC programme.

Protest against dog killing in Baner

The members of a local animal welfare organisation held a silent protest in Baner area of Pune to protest against the incident where multiple dogs were found poisoned and burnt to death in the first week of October. A police case was registered under Section 429 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Section 11(1)(c)(l) of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 at Chaturshrungi police station.

“Almost every day our news feeds were occupied with horrible news like these. One criminal raped a female dog, some morons threw a puppy from roof and one monster killed two dogs mercilessly. Then all hell break loose when some wicked sadist unknown persons poisoned and burnt 16 innocent dogs in the city,” said Shreyasi Mujumdar, member of AaCT India.

However, the citizens alone cannot be blamed for the incidents of dogs bites as well as animal cruelty. Activists working in the field have emphasised on sterilisation as the basic and only option to curb dog-related incidents.

“Sterilisation is recommended by the government advisory body Animal Welfare Board of India and required of municipalities under the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001. Peta reminds municipalities of this duty, supports and engages in various sterilisation efforts,” said Deepak Chaudhury, emergency response coordinator - Peta India.

“It is imperative that the police take cruelty to animal cases seriously, find and punish the offenders to the fullest extent of the law. Unfortunately, the penalties under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960, which is the main animal welfare legislation, are in dire need of being updated. The maximum penalty for a first offence is just Rs 50,” Chaudhury said.

First Published: Oct 12, 2017 00:03 IST