No locality has perhaps as many stray dogs as Nongsohpoh Upper Mawprem, Mawbah and Jhalupara areas. The late nights could be nightmarish, particularly for those who arrive from Guwahati and Silchar. Sometimes the inebriated, who stagger and struggle to reach home, fall easy victim to the pack of canines! About a month ago, a “disabled” elderly woman was chased down and bitten at Upper Mawprem. It was a very “pitiful” situation as the lady was very poor, having practically no one to look after her. The distressed woman was later advised by the Headman to get herself immediately vaccinated at Pasteur Institute. It has been reported that last week alone over 15 people, including small children, were mauled with six bite incidents on May 20.
No surprise, many health enthusiasts, who fear dogs, have long stopped coming out of their homes for jogging in the early morning. It is a totally scary situation in the locality. The residents also complain about their regular sleep loss due to the constant nightly howling by groups of dogs. A resident of Nongsohphoh Richmond Kharbudon laments: “Why is the Shillong Municipality least bothered when the street dogs —- people prefer to call them “kings-of-the night” — have multiplied so much that they pose a serious threat to the public. Parents fear to send out their children even for small work.”
Another local resident remarks, “Since our footpaths and roads are full of dogs’ faeces, it’s very embarrassing to invite the guests/tourists from outside the state who visit the town. Nothing is as disgusting as the fact that the owners of doggies just bring out and walk them around for the sneaky potty near the corner of the road. Are those snobbish pet-lovers uneducated lacking the basic civic sense?”
The Headman of Upper Mawprem Nongsohphoh, Johnny Kharmawlong, insists that the concerning government department must take these ownerless street dogs to the shelter home as soon as possible because of the spike in dog bite incidents is alarming in the locality.
One businessman from Polo also expressed similar anguish over the increasing dog bite cases in the area. Well, there are many bite incidents due to the sheer negligence of the pet-lovers. With reckless disregard for the safety of others, they just “let out” their wild dogs that fiercely chase and bite anyone around. Who is to be held responsible? Why is there no action from the police department?
Of course, when public safety is at stake, the Shillong Municipality and the office of the Deputy Commissioner should not sit back and remain complacent any longer. This is totally outrageous. The ferocity of the canine has already taken away the peace of the general public in several localities in the town. Hope this letter will shock the department into action.
Also, appropriate action must be taken against those who, with impunity, leave their fearsome pets out. As deterrence, the owners must be heavily penalised if their dogs bite others.
Salil Gewali and Daisy Warjri