A pack of wild dogs have killed six children in the past week in northern India, leading terrified parents to keep their children inside as they desperately find a way to stop the attacks.
The incidents have happened near the town of Sitapur, which is in the Uttar Predesh state. 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.
While local officials are searching for a way to stop the attacking wild dogs, residents believe there are larger factors at play. As the Guardian noted, some villagers believe the dogs have grown more aggressive after the closure of a nearby slaughterhouse, which was a source of food for them. Now hungry and increasingly violent, the dogs have started to attack small children for food.
The report noted that three children were killed in a single day last week, and three days later the dogs killed another two children. Villagers raced to try to save one of the children when they heard her screams, but they were too late and the dogs had killed the seven-year-old girl.
One local official suggested keeping all children inside until the dogs could be killed, and attendance at school had dropped dramatically since the attacks occurred.
Wild dogs have been a problem across India, including some high-profile incidents in recent months. Late last year, video emerged showing a stray dog carrying the body of a dead newborn in its mouth near a hospital. As Asian News International reported, police investigated how the dog came to find the body of the dead baby, which was believed to have died before the dog found its body.
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.
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It is not clear what measures villagers in northern India plan to take against the pack of dogs that have been killing children, but in the past there have been efforts to exterminate these stray dogs both through capturing and euthanizing them or by sterilizing the dogs. Some have even suggested introducing natural predators to the dogs, including leopards.