ROAMING packs of feral dogs in India have killed six children and injured several others in the past week.
The victims, aged between five and 12, were killed after being savaged by the animals in the town of Sitapur.
At least two dozen more youngsters have been injured in attacks, police said.
It was not clear how many dogs were involved, but India has millions of strays that roam the streets in even the most exclusive neighborhoods.
Some in the area believe the attacks began after a nearby illegal slaughterhouse was closed, making the dogs more aggressive after they were left without a major source of food.
Villagers say the dog packs are terrifying.
Rajendra Kumar, a farmer near Sitapur, said he was working in his fields when a girl came running toward him.
He said: “She was shouting ‘It killed her. Around two dozen of us ran toward the mango grove with large sticks, iron rods and shovels.”
There, he said, they found a half dozen dogs tearing into the corpse of a seven-year-old girl named Gita.
Education officials say some schools have seen a significant drop in attendance because of the attacks.
Parents have been told to accompany their children to and from school.
The recent deaths included three children killed by a pack of strays on May 1, Kulkarni said.
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Two more children were killed on May 4, and Gita was killed on Friday.
Sitapur magistrate Harshdeo Pandey said villagers have been told not to allow their children to use outhouses on their own.
He said: “Public announcements have been made in villages regarding this. We also suggest that children should not be allowed to go out to play for a few days, until all these dogs are caught.”
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