February 4, 2023 3:35 pm

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The Problem of Dogs in India 

A recent case in Noida, where a stray dog mauled a 7-month-old-infant triggered strong responses, both on social media and elsewhere.

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Dog bites

The BMC had said in 2016 that in Mumbai, dog bites have claimed more lives in 20 years than the two terrorist attacks — the 1993 serial explosions and the 26/11 attack in 2008.

A recent case in Noida, where a stray dog mauled a 7-month-old-infant triggered strong responses, both on the ground and social media. The infant was shifted to a medical facility but could not be saved. Increasing incidents of dog bites have fueled a new debate on stray dogs and dog lovers.

The Debate on Dogs

The incident in Noida’s Lotus Boulevard Society — which led to the death of an infant — begs the question as to why dogs should be allowed in homes and societies.

Apparently, some residents or more appropriately dog lovers of the society have been feeding the strays. According to accounts of the residents, the basement of the society has turned into a safe haven for dogs. Now, the other residents of the society are opposing the dog lovers in the society.

The incident has led to a heated online debate — with netizens calling out dog lovers. Several people on social media opined that authorities should act on stray dogs as they are dangerous.

stray dogs
A twitter user’s comment regarding stray dogs

Meanwhile, several dog-lovers defended their pets, claiming that dogs do not attack unless provoked.

Anger on Dog-lovers

According to a report, several residents claimed that the infant had provoked the stray dog in Lotus Boulevard Society. Though it seems highly unlikely, given the fact that the victim was only 7-month-old.

Several netizens expressed anger at pet owners, often failing to control their dogs.

An incident was reported last month when a dog attacked a child in an elevator. The incident happened as the dog owner — who is present in the elevator — is unresponsive to the child’s pain.

The Facts

According to a report, four cases of dog bite incidents have been reported in the last 4 months, resulting in a death. 

Interestingly, in only one case a stray dog was involved while in the rest, pet dogs were responsible. In one incident, an 82-year-old retired teacher was mauled to death by her son’s pet dog.

Report of DailyO on Dog-bites
Report of DailyO on Dog-bites

Deadly Dog Bites 

The data shows that since 2019, a total of 1.5 crore cases of dog bites have been reported. With 27.52 lakh cases, Uttar Pradesh, which has the most stray animals, has registered the most incidents, followed by Tamil Nadu (20.7 lakh) and Maharashtra (15.75 lakh).

In 2022, there were 21 deaths from rabies (caused by dog bites) and 1.9 lakh cases of dog bites registered in Kerala, where strays attacked and killed three children.

When it comes to the number of street dogs, Kerala does not rank among the top 15 Indian states. However, it has the sixth-highest number of dog bites in the nation.

According to the data presented by the Central government in Parliament, “there are 1.53 crore stray dogs in India”. However, an independent study estimates the figure to be more than 6 crore.

Are Only Stray dogs to Blame?

Not every dog bite incident can be attributed to street or stray dogs. 

Several pet dogs, especially foreign breeds tend to attack humans, for several reasons. Pit bull, a famous foreign breed, is well known for its aggressive nature and killing intent.

Pit Bull
Pit Bull Photo Credit: Indiatimes

Several Indians pet foreign breeds of dogs but fail to impart training to the animal. Such untrained dogs are often the reason for unfortunate incidents.

Are Such Cases Limited to India?

India is not the only country that is experiencing increasing cases of dog bites.

According to research published in the Journal of Pediatrics, there are increasingly more incidents of aggressive dogs and dog bites worldwide. 

Data shows that each year in the US, there are close to 3,40,000 emergency cases involving dog bites, with children and teenagers making up more than 40% of the victims. The US also sees loss of millions of dollars due to dog bites. 

As per research, 45 deaths in Europe were caused due to dog bites.

Time for Introspection

For a long, dogs have been the most popular animal to pet by humans.

Be it guarding homes against burglars or assisting security forces in a conflict zone, dogs have proven themselves to be loyal friends to humans. Although, the recent anger has been directed at dog lovers more than the animal itself. 

On many occasions, questions have been raised in this animal-caring country as to why the cow is more important than human life. Now, it is time too for dog lovers, to ponder over the question.

Yash Rawat
Yash Rawat

Its been hard to express myself so here I am.. writing.

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