A town in north India has villagers practically living in terror after roaming packs of feral dogs have killed six children in just a matter of week. At least two dozen more children have been injured from the frightening attacks.
Officials say twelve children between the ages 5 and 12 have been killed in the ferocious dog attacks in the area starting in November.
Terrified villagers have been keeping their children at home as a result of the scary attacks and preventing them from going to school. Adults have been killing any dogs they encounter as a result of the fear and paranoia that have gripped the villagers following the attacks on children.
Senior police officer Anand Kulkarni said that the killings have taken place in and around the town of Sitapur. The attacks occurred mostly when children were out gathering mangoes or when they left their homes to use outhouse toilets. Many homes in the area still lack indoor plumbing.
Officials can not exactly establish how many dogs are involved in the attacks. India being a huge country with one of the largest populations in the world is also home to millions of stray dogs that wander the streets in even the most exclusive neighborhoods.
The feral dogs merely survive on leftover food set by the villagers in alleys for them. They are, however, subjected, too, to relentless cruelty by people. They also regularly fight other dogs over territory issues.
Injuries from dog attacks are traditionally common in India, but this scale of attacks reaching a string of fatalities in one area is rare.
Villagers describe the dog packs as terrifying especially when even children witness the attacks on other kids. Another worrisome development is that because of the terror created by the attacks, education officials say some schools have seen a significant drop in attendance by students. Parents are being advised to accompany their children to and from school.
Some villagers believe the attacks started after a nearby illegal slaughterhouse was closed, making the dogs more aggressive after they were cut off from a major source of food.
Sadly, the situation is breeding violence against dogs in retaliation by furious villagers. Residents have been shooting and strangling stray dogs, thinking that that’s the only choice left for them to do. Four teams of dog-catchers have captured 24 dogs in the past days.