The residents of Saket Complex in Thane have been forced to carry lathis within the complex for self-defence due to recent incidents of stray dog attacks, wherein 10-12 residents have reportedly been bitten, including a security guard. Concerned residents have stopped sending their children and senior citizens outside unaccompanied due to these aggressive dogs. However, despite complaints to various authorities, including Thane’s Rabodi police station, the municipal corporation, PETA and Maneka Gandhi, they are yet to receive assistance.
Saket Complex, situated in Thane West, comprises 28 buildings with 672 flats and approximately 4,000 residents. The society members have gathered several clips from CCTV footage showing the stray dogs attacking residents. Some of the victims recount their ordeal:
Aryan Bane, a resident
“On July 1, as I was heading to a shop outside the complex, I was attacked by three to four dogs, one of which bit me on the stomach. I recently had surgery. The dog bit me on the stitches, leading to an infection. My father Uday filed a written complaint with the Rabodi police, but no action was taken. I now live in fear of leaving my house.”
Gopal Iyer, 66
Iyer also faced a similar situation when three to four dogs attacked him on September 17 as he went to buy milk. Speaking to mid-day, he said, “I was attacked from behind and one of the dogs bit my leg. I have taken three injections, with one more pending as part of the treatment. A pav seller saved me, but I am now terrified to step out of my home.”
Shivprasad Pal, worker
A worker at Saket Complex, experienced a dog attack on September 30 while on duty. He stated, “I had to take two injections for the injury, and it still hurts.”
Jaleel Ahmed Hashmi, guard
Hashmi said, “Two months ago, a dog bit my leg while I was on duty at the complex gate.”
Chatterjee said he rescued a child from a dog, but in the process, twisted his knee. As a result, he had to undergo surgery. However, he struggles to walk normally due to the incident.
Medha Wagle, banker
Wagle was chased by a pack of dogs while going to the office. In the process, she sustained injuries to her leg and had to take leave for 15-20 days. She is set to retire next month.
Society chairman speaks
Gopal Chary, chairman of the society, said many residents, including his neighbours, friends and security guards, have recently been bitten by dogs. “We do not oppose the dogs or their feeders, but we need a solution to prevent these dog attacks. Society members and children are now afraid to leave their homes. While there are laws against relocating dogs, we must find a solution for dealing with aggressive dogs.
We have informed the municipal corporation, but we have not received any legal assistance. We have provided shelters for the dogs and food for feeders, and we have held numerous meetings on this issue, but we are yet to find a concrete solution,” he said. Vidya Menon, a society member, emphasised the importance of having animal birth control in the case of the stray dogs. “We have stopped sending our children downstairs alone, and lost our freedom because of the stray dogs,” she said.
What feeders say
Shraddha Parab, one of the feeders, said there are five feeders in the society. “Since 2010, we have been feeding dogs inside the complex. We decided to sterilize the dogs to control their population. The dogs that are attacking residents are from outside. We have put identification collars on the dogs we feed, but these are different dogs. We have informed the society not to relocate the stray dogs we feed daily. We also contacted Maneka Gandhi, and she sent an email to the society advising against relocating the dogs.”
Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) spokesperson Ravindra Manjrekar said, “As per Supreme Court guidelines we cannot relocate the dogs. But we can help the society members. We will inform our dog squad team and help by sterilising the dogs.” Mitesh Jain, Hon. Animal Welfare Representative of the Animal Welfare Board of India, told mid-day, “Municipal corporations should also administer vaccinations to dogs. Vaccinating dogs can help prevent aggression and reduce the incidence of attacks on people. While municipal corporations currently perform sterilization procedures, vaccination is equally important.”