On Friday night, a puppy ran towards the house of a resident of Bengaluru's Telecom Layout in Kodigehalli. Abha, the home owner had been feeding the pup. On that night, Abha noticed that the pup's mouth was foaming.
"I knew something was wrong and it looked like some sort of poisoning so I decided to take her to the Hebbal Veterinary Hospital," Abha says.
The puppy died en route and Abha buried her in a vacant plot a few meters away from the main road.
"Midway, she died, and since there is no dog cemetery nearby, I buried her after getting out of the auto," she adds.
While returning home, Abha found that two other dogs, which live on 11th Cross in Telecom Layout had also died. She noticed the foaming in their mouths as well.
Worried that someone was poisoning all the strays in the area, Abha immediately informed the Kodigehalli Police.
"I called the police and they came and inspected the spot where the dogs had died. Police said that unless I could conclusively point out who poisoned the dogs, they could not take any action. I tried to tell them to take down a complaint but they refused to do so. I went back home as it was too late in the night," she added.
On Saturday morning, Abha noticed that seven more dogs on her street had died. All of them had foaming in their mouth. However, one of the senior dogs was still alive but was battling for her life.
The dog was immediately taken to the hospital, where she succumbed to the poison.
"Later that day, we noticed that six dogs on 3rd cross, five on 4th cross and a few dogs near the park had also died. There were over 25 deaths in one night. When activists learned of the incident, they immediately approached the police and the BBMP," Abha says.
Finally, the Kodgehalli Police registered a case, which is being investigated. On Saturday afternoon, the police found meat laced with poison in 11th Cross.
"Telecom Layout has a lot of thieves, drug dealers and drunk people who cause ruckus at night. The dogs would guard the streets. We suspect that it was done by some thieves to get rid of the dogs as they would alert the residents if an unknown person entered the streets. On the other hand, it could have been residents who did not want the dogs around. Two police officers have been deployed to watch the area and find out who did it. Once there is progress in the case, the relevant sections will be added to the FIR, as of now it is registered under section 173 CrPC," Kodigehalli Police said.
The dogs were taken to the hospital in Hebbal and an autopsy was performed. "It concluded that the food was laced with poison," police said.
Speaking to TNM on condition of anonymity, a BBMP official said that the civic body had received complaints of stray dog menace from the area.
"In 2016, a similar situation had occurred in Bengaluru when around 30 dogs were killed by residents who did not want the dogs around. All the dogs that died had been neutered. This will not be condoned and action will be taken," the official said.
Two years back, the 30 stray dogs were found butchered in a mass grave in Bengaluru's Anjana Nagar. The owner of a farmhouse in the area had informed People For Animals, an NGO after the stench had spread. One of the dogs was still alive when the activists found the grave of dead dogs dumped inside a pit.