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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 March 2007, 14:03 GMT
Stray dogs 'kill another child'
By Habib Beary
BBC News, Bangalore

Stray dogs in India
The population of stray dogs has increased dramatically
Stray dogs have killed a three-year-old boy in India's hi-tech capital of Bangalore, police say.

The death led to protests by irate residents over what they say is the failure of the civic authorities to control an estimated 70,000 strays.

Police said that the boy was bitten by a pack of dogs near his home in a suburb in the eastern part of the city late on Wednesday night.

It is the second child death blamed on stray dogs in the city recently.

Population mushroom

The boy's parents said that he died before they could get him to hospital.

"It is very unfortunate. It is bad for Bangalore's image," said Karnataka state Health Minister R Ashok.

Mr Ashok was mobbed by protesting residents after the incident, along with Bangalore Corporation Commissioner K Jairaj.

Stray dog in India
Some argue that stray dogs in Bangalore should be culled

The residents were demonstrating to demand a cull of stray dogs, whose population they say has mushroomed in recent years.

They demanded the closure of illegal mutton and chicken shops which they say attracts packs of dogs looking for left-over meat.

The shops have been accused of dumping waste meat onto the streets.

This is the second reported killing by stray dogs in the same neighbourhood in less than two months.

In the first incident, an eight-year-old girl, Sridevi, was killed in what several witnesses said was "an horrific and ghastly mauling".

She was allegedly dragged nearly 20 metres in December by a pack of stray dogs before being savagely mauled to death.

'Knee-jerk reaction'

A fortnight ago, another child was attacked but escaped with injuries.

Mr Jairaj said that mobile squads have now been set up "to crackdown" on illegal mutton and chicken shops in and around Bangalore.

Police in Bangalore
The authorities are accused of being slow to react to the problem

Civic authorities had earlier ordered a cull of all diseased strays, but the campaign was opposed by animal activists.

"There are so many other things that the municipal authorities should look after," said Dilip Bafna, a trustee of the Animal Rights Fund.

"No stern action has been taken against illegal meat shops. They dump waste on the roads, while people litter the roads and then complain about stray dogs," he said.

In a letter to the state government, former High Court judge MF Saldanha said that the culling of dogs was a "knee-jerk reaction".

He called for the stepping-up of an anti-rabies vaccine initiated by the local civic agencies.

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