At least six children were injured due to stray dog bites in a day in Bhakkar district.
Local residents say that dozens of children attacked by stray dogs have been admitted to hospitals in the district in recent weeks. Incidents of dog bite have been reported from all the four tehsils of the district, including the city. Children and the elderly are the most vulnerable to such attacks because of increasing number of stray dogs roaming in the streets.
Five children were injured in an attack of stray dogs on a settlement in Basti Dattawala in Bhakkar tehsil. The injured children belong to the family of Hameed Chheena, the numbardar of the village.
The injured children were reportedly treated in the same locality.
The second incident took place the same day near Jhang Road where a stray dog bit a child aged about four years. The child bled profusely due to the injuries.
Medics said there were cuts on his ear and head and bruises on the rest of the body.
The child belonged to a poor family that had gone to cotton fields to take grass for their animals. He was following the family when he was bitten by the dog.
Rescue staff gave first aid to the injured child, after which he was shifted to a hospital.
Sargodha Division Commissioner Dr Irshaf Ahmed sought a report from the deputy commissioner of Bhakkar about the incidents of dog bite.
He said while speaking to The Express Tribune that initial instructions had been issued to protect the citizens but a vigorous campaign to clear Bhakkar of stray dogs would be launched after the Ashura holidays.
He said he himself would supervise the campaign and would not tolerate negligence in this regard by the government officials concerned.
However, a local resident said dozens of cases of bites by stray dogs had taken place in the area earlier, mostly affecting children and elderly people who were treated in various hospitals.
He said that some stray dogs are killed in a locality where a major incident takes place and reports are submitted to the higher authorities but extensive action is not taken to solve the problem.
He said the situation had not improved despite the changes in governments and officials appointed in the district.
The district councils are responsible to eliminate stray dogs in the province.
According to sources, expensive medicines for the elimination of dogs are also issued to the relevant authorities.
Stray dog attacks are not a new phenomenon in Punjab. In May of this year, South Punjab Additional Chief Secretary (ACS) Captain (retd) Saqib Zafar submitted a report to the Chief Minister regarding the frequency of attacks, as well as alleged negligence in dealing with the issue.
The report stated that the Lodhran District Council Chief Officer (CO) had been negligent in pursuing action against dog attacks and ordered DC Lodhran to remove the CO from his post. That same month, several attacks were reported within the district.
A two-and-a-half year old child was mauled to death by dogs in Lodhran, while he was headed to his aunt’s house. A similar incident was reported in Kot Addu, where a 10-year-old boy was mauled by dogs and sustained leg injuries. When the victim’s uncle complained to the dog’s owner, Tufail, he allegedly tortured the man.
Separately, a 12-year-old boy was mauled to death by a pack of dogs in Dera Ghazi Khan in February of this year.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 8th, 2022.