Maharashtra reported the maximum number of dog bite cases this year, as per the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. In 2023, the state reported 4,35,136 dog bite cases compared to 3,90,868 cases in 2022, which is an 11.32% rise. Officials said that there are several reasons for the surge, including negligence of civic authorities towards stray dogs.
Several horrendous stories of dog bites reported
They said strays do not receive proper care, nourishment or medical attention, which leads to various diseases, making them aggressive. Several horrendous stories of dog bites have been in the news this year.
Recently, a seven-year-old Shivansh, a resident of Dahisar, was bitten so badly that the stray’s teeth penetrated deep inside his leg muscles. Another child, eightyear-old Ridhan, was attacked by dogs in Thakur village in Kandivali East.
A senior state health department official said that most dog bite cases go unreported. “There has been an uptick in cases of attacks by strays all around the state, including Mumbai (which alone reports nearly 60,000 cases every year), particularly youngsters, women and late-night riders. Among the several reasons for the surge is lack of food and water for canines, who then suffer health issues and fear humans,” the official said.
Root cause of Stray dog menace
The official added that the rise in the number of packs leads to a scarcity of resources for individual dogs, making them aggressive towards humans and other animals. Strays turn hostile also when they are rabid, hurt, hungry, traumatized or anxious, or even while protecting their puppies.
According to the law, it is illegal to remove a dog from the streets. A stray, legally, has a “right” to stay there unless adopted. The killing of dogs has also been banned in India since 2001.
The Supreme Court of India, in 2008, suspended the Bombay High Court verdict allowing municipal authorities to kill dogs that were “creating a nuisance”. Article 51A(G) of the Indian Constitution states, “It is a fundamental duty of every citizen of India to protect wildlife and have compassion for all living creatures”.