Home / News / India /  Delhi witnesses tremendous rise in dog bite cases, these hospital reports maximum number of instances

In the past six months, there has been an increase in dog bite instances in the national capital. Delhi's Safdarjung saw about 29,698 cases while another hospital Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) saw 18,183 dog bite cases in the last six months, Indian Express has reported.

The report stated that the dog bite cases are higher than bites from any other animal such as monkeys or cats. 

Earlier on 12 March, two children, aged seven and five, were mauled to death by stray dogs in a forest area in Ruchi Vihar in separate incidents over two days, according to media reports.

As per the report, Dr Surinder Goyal who is the chief medical officer incharge and nodal officer of the emergency department of Safdarjung Hospital said that 250 cases of animal bites were reported per day in the last six months. 

RML hospital's senior doctor told Indian Express that said during the pandemic, stray dogs were ignored. There were fewer feedings, even though, dog feeders are working to catch up, there have also been a number of dog bite incidents.  

Another Hyderabad based doctor, Dr Kondal Reddy had told PTI that mostly during the summer months, the dogs will be in a more furious state causing unnecessary bites to passerby people including children. People especially children should stay away from a group of street dogs.

With the rise in dog bite cases, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) issued summon to Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) Commissioner to appear before it on March 17. "In view of the sensitivity of the matter, the Commission considers it appropriate to issue Summons to your good offices to physically appear before the Commission on March 17, 2O23 (Friday) along with an action taken report of the matter. Take notice that if you fail to comply with this Order without lawful excuse, you will be subjected to the consequences of the non-attendance," said the child rights body.

On 14 March, Delhi Mayor Shelly Oberoi instructed officials to prepare an action plan within a week to control the menace of stray dogs, days after two children were mauled to death. "The mayor asked the officials to prepare an action plan within a week on the issue of saving Delhiites from stray dogs. On this issue, the Mayor has called a meeting of NGOs related to animals, Gaushala operators and veterinary experts on Wednesday," Officials told PTI. 

However, a team from People for Animals (PFA), an animal welfare organisation founded by BJP MP Maneka Gandhi, conducted a spot investigation into suspected dog-attack cases at Vasant Kunj and said the incidents were "misreported" with dogs being "blamed" for the attacks "without any evidence". Ambika Shukla, a trustee at PFA, claimed that the incidents were not "subjected to careful scrutiny". Talking to PTI, Shukla said, "In the Vasant Kunj case, most of the locals have testified that they never saw dogs harming any child. What we are seeing is a few incidents from different times and places being tied together to create the impression that such instances are common or frequent when, in fact, they are rare abnormalities, which is why they are news."

She further said each incident is "different" and must be analysed in terms of its particular circumstances. "Instead, what we are seeing is hype and hysteria being whipped up to trigger reactions of hate and intolerance that help neither humans nor animals," Shukla told PTI.

According to the PFA team's findings, there is a "lack of evidence" to confirm these incidents as cases of dog attack.

On 12 March, Two minor brothers were found dead over the span of two days in southwest Delhi's Vasant Kunj area. The deceased, identified as Anand (7) and Aditya (5), lived with their parents in a slum cluster in Sindhi Basti, police told PTI.

Meanwhile, apart from the national capital, other cities like Hyderabad, Leh, Bihar, Srinagar, Gujarat have also seen rise in dog bite cases. 

On 4 March, the Government Fever Hospital in Hyderabad where most dog bite cases in the city are reported has started seeing a surge in dog bite cases with almost 100 cases being reported in a day. The Professor of medicine at the Government Fever hospital, Dr Kondal Reddy said, “In regard to the increasing number of dog bites in our area the first thing is that prevention is better than cure. Actually, there is no cure for rabies. It has 100 percent mortality. Whatever may be the case, we should follow appropriate steps to escape from dog bites."

Srinagar too witnessed rise in dog bite cases. The Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) had roped in an agency from Rajasthan for carrying out mass sterilisation of dogs to control the rising canine population. While the exact dog population of Srinagar at present is not known, as per the last dog census conducted in 2011, there were more than 90,000 canines in a city of 1.2 million. Experts believe the number might have doubled in the past 12 years. 

In Ladakh's Leh, the union territory reported over 230 dog bite cases so far this year which prompted authorities to call for an action plan, including a dog census to deal with the menace. As many as 232 cases of dog bites were registered so far in 2023, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Leh, Dr Nurzin Angmo had told PTI. As per Dr Angmo, a total of 2,000 dog bite cases were registered at SNM hospital in 2022 from all over the union territory. Officials further said that the issue of stray dogs has been a constant and rising concern in Ladakh despite various initiatives implemented in the past years. The Secretary had also directed municipal Committee Leh to set up an exclusive team of stray dog catchers while ensuring their safety by vaccinating them and providing them with the proper gear, and equipment.

In another incident, in January, it was reported that in Bihar, a stray dog allegedly went on a biting spree and attacked more than 80 people in Bihar's Arrah. Sources told PTI that the stray dog was allegedly beaten to death after the matter came to light.

Dog bite prevention:

When a dog bite happens, immediately wash the wound under running tap water for a period of 10 to 15 minutes using soap or detergent. This will prevent rabies from occurring up to 80 percent. This is a very important step that we can do at home, Dr Kondal Reddy, Professor of medicine at the Government Fever hospital said.

He added that simply putting a bandage on a dog bite wound is not correct. After this, the patient should be taken to the nearby hospital.

If there are more street dogs, they should be notified to the authorities for sterilization and also appropriate water facilities have to be provided for them. 

He also added that dog bite injuries are mainly of three types. Grade 1 is a slight scratch, Grade 2 a deeper injury while Grade 3 is where underlying muscles are exposed. “Whether it is a domestic dog bite or a street dog bite, earlier we used to observe the animal whether it is alive or dead for a period of 10 days," he said. However, now we are giving immunization for most dog bite cases higher than Grade 2. 

(With inputs from agencies)


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