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Outcry in India after CCTV video shows boy, 4, being mauled to death by stray dogs

File A pack of dog watches as a family burn pyre of a person in Bangalore, India  (AFP via Getty Images)
File A pack of dog watches as a family burn pyre of a person in Bangalore, India (AFP via Getty Images)

A four-year-old boy was mauled to death by a pack of street dogs in Hyderabad in Telangana, leading to shock and anger in India – a country with a significant stray problem.

The incident that took place on Sunday was captured on surveillance camera and the video of the grisly attack is being widely circulated on social media, prompting calls for urgent action.

The boy, identified as Pradeep, was accompanying his father to his workplace on Sunday in the Amberpet neighbourhood of the capital city where he worked as a security guard at an automobile workshop.

During the moment of the attack, the toddler was seen walking alone on the street when at least four street dogs started barking at him and eventually charged him.

The boy was rushed to the hospital where he was declared dead by the doctors.

Deputy director of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) Chakrapani Reddy told The Independent on Tuesday that they are taking the matter seriously.

He said the veterinarians from the department were immediately rushed to the spot as soon as authorities received the message but by then the boy had been taken to the hospital.

“We have picked up around 33 dogs from the area and so far we have sterilised 25. All the dogs will be released in the same areas after the post-operative care,” Mr Reddy said.

He added that the dogs that attacked the boy are under observation. A decision will be taken after the observation period ends as per Animal Protection Index guidelines.

Mr Gangadhar said Pradeep was bleeding profusely when they saw him and breathed his last on the way to the hospital, the Indian Express reported.

The CCTV footage of the incident shows the moment when the dogs charged at the boy as he tried to run away. They encircled him and pushed him to the ground again and again before overpowering him.

The gruesome attack has sparked outrage among people who are now demanding action by municipal authorities and the police so that such incidents do not happen again.

“It’s shameful how many times this happens. Stray dogs killing children, women, the weak. But they are usually among the poor so no hue and cry. Local govts need to do more!” Gargi Rawat, a journalist said.

"Measures need to be taken so that such incidents don’t happen," said animal rights activist Bharti Chaturvedi on Times Now. "Stray dogs provide a fatal threat to all, especially toddlers.”

The police said they have not received any formal complaints.

Municipal administration minister K T Rama Rao expressed condolences to the distraught family of the toddler and lamented the tragic incident.

“Despite setting up animal care centres to take care of stray dogs in a humane way such incidents happen and are very unfortunate. We will do everything we can to ensure that such incidents do not recur,” he said.

The incident comes two weeks after another four-year-old boy died after being attacked by stray dogs in Gujarat’s Surat. The boy who belonged to a poor family of construction workers was attacked by four dogs during the morning hours on 8 February.

In January, more than 80 people were hospitalised in Bihar’s Arrah after a stray dog attacked multiple people, including 10 children. The dog was later beaten to death by the enraged locals.

In June 2022, a stray dog entered a maternity ward in a private hospital in India’s busy northern city of Panipat in the early hours and picked up a newborn from beside its sleeping mother.

The family found the three-day-old’s body the next day outside the hospital.

British veterinarian Andy Gibson had launched a mission over the last decade to eradicate rabies in India - a country with 40 million free-roaming dogs.

Even among the countries with a very high free-roaming dog population, India stands out, accounting for about 20 million dog bite cases per year, and nearly a third of the global rabies burden of 59,000 deaths.