Monday, February 20, 2012

Animal laws fawn over ‘murderer’ dogs

Had the resident leopard bitten off the sambhar fawn's neck, nature's court would not have charged the big cat with homicide. But here in the lush jungles that wedge in Siswan dam, a pack of stray dogs were prevented from adding another innocent to their serial murders across the Lower Shiwalik foothills. These are lean and mean unnatural predators and animal welfare laws literally fawn over dogs. 

Accompanied by photojournalist Gautam Singh, this correspondent had taken a rugged trail deep into the Siswan jungles. At high noon, as we returned to the dam's waters, a grim drama was unfolding. A fawn, which had come to drink water, had been separated from its mama by three dogs. We had seen these dogs earlier indulging in the socializing rituals before a hunt. The fawn was at the water's edge, where the dogs were somewhat uncomfortable in pursuing it. 

Cunning as canines are, the pack withdrew. The inexperienced fawn made a dash for the seeming safety of the jungle only to find dogs lying in wait. Making a U-turn, the fawn plunged into water. Sensing their victim was escaping, two dogs followed while the third circled ahead to cut off an escape route into jungle. The fawn swam desperately but one dog managed to catch its ear and its teeth locked in hard. The most piteous cries, not unlike that of a pup whose leg is trapped under a car wheel, emanated from the fawn. The ear is loaded with multiple nerve-endings and being close to the brain, the pain of a dog bite paralyses an animal. Hunting dogs are known to tackle huge wild boars similarly by latching onto the ears and flooring an otherwise lethal adversary. We threw stones, waded into the water and challanged the dogs, who fled. The fawn swam away, literally, from the jaws of death.

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