Newsreports including The Times of India on 8 Jan 2012 said that stray dogs attacked a 4-year old and mauled his face. The rest of these reports paraphrase the ‘dog menace’ in Bangalore and refer to earlier such incidents. The worst kind of yellow journalism. Watch ‘The Voice of Stray Dogs’ investigation in video and in this alternate report.
The Voice of Stray Dogs (VoSD) reached the location on 9 Jan 2012. The team noticed that all the dogs in the locality are sterilized, calm and friendly. We were surprised to see the area including the streets were absolutely clean – but on enquiry found out that after the dog bite BBMP came with some workers and cleaned the area & burnt the garbage there (in pictures and video) preparing for the media circus. In the past there was no cleaning or garbage removed, rag pickers are plenty and live on these garbage (in picture and movie).
Selva’s mother – Alemelu and her 8 kids are a amongst the people who make a living on this garbage.
One of the people living on the street is Mr. Chandramuni an army veteran from artillery regiment who helps the Selva’s mother Alamelu, and Selva’s family. Alamelu lives in a shed in a place on the other side of the area about 200 mts from Mr Chandramuni’s house. After the landowner where she stayed took his land back for an apartment’s construction (seen in picture) her house was broken down and it has now the construction site. She visits Mr. Chandramuni’s home often and at times leaves this kid wandering here and there in the streets and she goes for rag/scrap picking etc.
It was during her absence about 9:30AM in the morning that Selva went back to his old place (now the construction site) where he got bitten and came back bleeding to Mr. Chandra’s house. He was then rushed to the hospital by another neighbour Mr. Natraj – who took him to the local govt hospital for vaccines. Both Mr Chandramuni and Mr Natraj when asked about Selva’s face being ‘disfigured’ by dogs confirm that there was only a bite on the face and was bleeding but there was no repeated attack or disfigurement.
Residents confirmed that Selva loves dogs and he plays with a pack of 10-12 dogs faily. This particular morning Selva did the same. He was playing with one of the male dogs that he’d otherwise ride as a pony sometimes! Selva had a carrot in his hand and tried to force it in the mouth of the dog. The dog snapped back – the snap getting Selva’s cheek. For Selva it was a game but for the dog it was a painful act. Clearly the ‘bite’ was an accident and not an aggressive attack as mentioned in the newspapers crying themselves hoarse about a ‘dog attack’ and ‘dog menace’.
People living on this street all confirm that this dog is a very friendly and that there’s never been signs of aggression. Majority of the people in this area don’t see dogs as a problem. Most of the houses have stray dogs in front of their gates and all the dogs looked calm and well fed.
Mr Chandra says “Dogs here are friendly and guard our locality. Today BBMP has taken away all the dogs just because of this reason. BBMP has done this eye wash as they (BBMP) were aware Media team would be here. We pray for the dogs to be returned”.
Clearly the sensationalism that the media in Bangalore sees in a dog bite overpowers any sense of journalistic ethics. We have previously many times reported on similar reports including where the memebers of the media including Time of India reported a dob biting 20 people when it was actually 3 – and NONE of the journalists actually going on location.