The children killed in the past week have been between the ages of five and 12, and police said the attacks have come when children went outside to use outhouses or pick mangoes, the Guardian reported. The authorities are, however, not sure whether the attacking canines are strays which have turned ferocious or wild dogs from nearby forest that are venturing into residential areas. "This is the responsibility of the district officials to prevent such attacks and the officials should take preventive steps immediately", Yogi said in a terse statement issued here on Sunday.
It was not clear how many dogs were involved in the attacks, but India has millions of strays that wander the streets in even the most exclusive neighbourhoods. Numerous attacks occurred when children were out gathering mangoes or when they left their homes to use outhouse toilets, he said. The feral dogs often survive on leftover food set in alleys for them, but also face relentless cruelty by people, and regularly fight other dogs over territory.
Experts believe shortage of food after the crackdown on illegal abattoirs may be a reason for the aggression among dogs, according to PTI.
The report noted that three children were killed in a single day last week, and three days later the dogs killed another two children. Talgaon SHO said this is for the first time that the dogs have attacked anyone in the Talgaon area which is at least 20 km from the epicentre of Khairabad. As per government claim 12 childern have died between November and May but local say this number is much more.
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Some onlookers who saw the dog carrying the dead baby were able to chase the dog away, but local officials said they found the body to be in "disturbing" condition. After an operation is launched to catch them, herd of stray dogs are now moving to newer areas to target their victims.
The grisly attacks have caused such a fright among parents and children that schools in the area have witnessed a sharp decline in attendance over the past week.
"Public announcements have been made in villages regarding this", he said.
Four teams of dog-catchers have captured 24 dogs in recent days, said district magistrate Sheetal Verma.