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Dog attacks menace: Why is century-old animal-human bonding weakening? Issue & solution | Explained

The stray dog menace is snowballing with every passing day. Despite outrage now and then after every fatal dog attack, authorities still fail to reach any practical solution to the issue.

Written By: Raju Kumar @rajudelhi123 New Delhi Updated on: March 13, 2024 18:00 IST
Representational pic
Image Source : INDIA TV Representational pic

Two contrary images appear when we discuss stray dog menace. The first image shows us the lovely human-animal bonding in which dog lovers bring up and take care of animals like their own children. People are often seen walking with their dogs in the park or roadside or children playing with it in the parks. But, the second image is very horrific. We often read news in which stray dogs attack people. In some terrifying incidents, the stray dogs mauls kids. In recent times, several children were mauled to death by stray dogs in separate incidents across the country. 

On Monday (March 11), as many as twenty people were injured after being attacked by a stray dog in the Ghumarwin area, Bilaspur, Himachal Pradesh. The incident occurred on Monday night when a stray dog bit several people within the span of a few hours near Gandhi Chowk in the Ghumarwin market.

2-year-old girl mauled to death by stray dogs in Lutyens' Delhi

Recently on February 24, a two-year-old girl was allegedly mauled to death by a pack of stray dogs in the Tughlak Lane area of New Delhi, which falls under the jurisdiction of the NDMC. 

Norms are ignored: Activists

Tughlak Lane incident triggered a huge outrage. A group of animal activists called on the New Delhi Municipal Committee (NDMC) and Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to take action in the matter.

Animal activist Ambika Shukla said, "NDMC and MCD must immediately establish a working committee which includes members of animal welfare organisations to identify and crack down on the unlicensed breeders and pet shops as per Pet Shop Rules 2017 which they have ignored till date."

NHRC issues notice

Taking suo motu cognisance of media reports, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) issued a notice to the Delhi government and the city's police commissioner in connection with the case on On February 27.

This is "not an isolated case" of loss of human life due to attacks by stray dogs in Delhi, the NHRC had said in a statement.

Delhi High Court seeks authorities' stand 

There are hundreds of pleas filed in different courts from lower court to the Supreme Court on several individual cases of dog menace across the country. Recently, Delhi-NCR and Kerala emerged as the biggest victims of the dog attacks issue.

On March 4, the Delhi High Court said stray dogs are becoming a menace and sought the stand of the authorities here on a petition for a Rs 50 lakh compensation by the father of a one-and-a-half-year-old girl who was allegedly mauled to death by a pack of canines last month.

Justice Subramonium Prasad issued notice to the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) as well as the city government and the police and sought a status report from them with regard to the steps taken to ensure that such incidents do not take place again.

Feeding stray dogs once of causes of menace: Court

"The problem is people are coming in the vans and feeding the dogs. Because of that dogs have become too territorial and they attack anybody. They are becoming a menace for the pedestrians," the court said.

"Feeding strays may be good but you are taking away their capacity to go and find their own food. They have nothing else to do," added the court.

The counsel for the petitioner said in the instant case, dogs were being fed in a children's park, putting children at risk.

Hurdles for authorities

The matter is not as plain as it looks. Whenever the government comes up with measures to address the issue,  People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and other animal rights groups start protests. To avoide such controversies most of the times, the authorities prefere to overlook the issue.

Last time in October 2023, The Central panel had to withdraw circular on conducting vaccine trials on stray dogs after outrage by the animal activists. The Central Panel for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments on Animals (CPCSEA) has withdrawn its circular on conducting vaccine trials on stray dogs that was issued more than a year ago.

The CPCSEA had last year in September recommended that “stray dogs may be used for new vaccine trials and challenge studies of vaccines”.

The decision had drawn flak from the animal rights body People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) which had warned the government panel that its recommendation would open the floodgates not only for stray dogs but also for other feral animals to be used in experiments, such as painful efficacy and toxicity testing, dissections, and demonstrations.

Why are dogs becoming violent?

Experts believe that the biggest reason behind the violent nature of dogs is their increasing numbers. A healthy bitch is capable of giving birth to about 20 puppies in a year. In such a situation, the number of dogs is increasing rapidly but they do not get enough food. In such a situation, they become violent and attack small children to satisfy their hunger. Whereas if a dog normally gets 5 to 6 pieces of bread a day, it will not become violent.

Another reason for dogs becoming violent is their children getting crushed to death under a vehicle. Actually, dogs are very sensitive towards their children. If a puppy dies in a road accident or due to any other reason, they become violent and consider vehicles as their enemies. It has been found that not all stray or pet dogs are violent. But if one dog is aggressive, it can make the other dogs in the pack aggressive as well. Experts believe that if you see dogs becoming violent around you, then you should immediately inform the Municipal Corporation or the concerned organization. 

Vehicle horns and noise are also responsible for dog attacks. As the human population is increasing, the number of vehicles is also increasing. The various types of horn sounds from these vehicles cause irritation in dogs. They feel threatened by its sound and take a violent stance and attack.

The reason behind the aggressive attitude of dogs is that anti-social elements are harassing them unnecessarily. Some people beat dogs and their children and some harass them by tying firecrackers to their tails. Many such cases have come to light, due to which dogs became irritable and then started attacking.

Who is responsible for dog attacks?

In 2001, a decision of the Supreme Court was given, according to which the responsibility of sterilization and vaccination of stray dogs was given to the civil organizations. These organizations suppose to conduct campaigns for dogs in collaboration with the Municipal Corporation or local authorities. But due to lack of resources, such campaigns cannot be conducted on a large scale. Hence, ultimately, the responsibilty lies on Municipal Corporation which often cites lack of resources for not taking proper action to deal with the issue.

Guidelines for dog owners: 

  • It is mandatory to vaccinate your pet with the Rabies vaccine 
  • Put up a ‘beware of Dog’ sign board at your premises
  • Get your pet an anti-dog bite mask when you take it outside
  • Get registered your pet with your local Municipal Corporation and timely renew it
  • Under section 399 of Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957, it is mandatory to register all pet dogs 
  • In some case, one requires NOC from the neighbors
  • When you take the dog outside, it must be fastened by a belt and there should be a stick in your hand
  • The section also gives power to the MCD to detain a pet dog found in a public place, if it is not registered

Animal Welfare Board of India’s Guidelines:

  • No restriction on keeping pet in the housing society
  • Not only flat owner but a renter can also keep pet
  • There is no law or norms against dog barking as it is a natural phenomenal
  • There should not be any extra charge for don on the lift
  • Society can fix a time for dog to go to the part or premises  in the wake of security

You may fall in legal trouble if dog bites someone

If a dog bites one. The owner of the dog may face 6-month jail or minimum Rs 1,000 fine under IPC section 289. But, if the victim dies, a fine will not be considered. If a stray dog bites, the victim can file a case against the municipal corporation

What If a dog bites you

If a dog bites you. You must visit the nearby hospital and get the anti-Rabies vaccine within 72 hours. Negligence on the vaccination part may cause fatal. 

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