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Stray animals prowling on Goa’s beaches are scaring tourists and locals alike

SAFETY ON THE POINT: In recent weeks, the number of dog bites on Goan beaches has increased.

SAFETY ON THE POINT: In recent weeks, the number of dog bites on Goan beaches has increased. Photo: Rohan Fernandes

The month of May brought an increase in heat and humidity. And this, in a way, has also affected the stray animals on the beaches of South Goa.

In recent weeks, there have been reports of encounters with stray dogs on Goa’s beaches. With three lifeguards and many tourists falling prey to the bites of these stray animals, concerns still exist.

In a span of two weeks this month, three on-duty Drishti Marine lifeguards were bitten by stray dogs while patrolling the beaches and were given first aid and medical attention.

Last week, Bollywood actor Rayya Labib was part of Lakme (2016) fame, suffered bruises and scratches after being chased by stray dogs on Colva beach while on holiday in Goa.

In another case, a 24-year-old Russian woman, cycling on Benaulim beach, was attacked by a pack of stray animals.

After local fishermen came to her rescue and treated her for injuries sustained during her encounter with stray dogs, she posted a video on social media, requesting the department to ensure that such incidents are dealt with.

“I have come to Goa for the first time. I fell in love with the state because of the clean and pristine beaches, the kind and loving people and the food is delicious. But there is one issue that needs to be highlighted, especially regarding the menace of stray dogs,” the tourist said in her social media post.

She suggested that shelters could be built for these animals. “If shelters are built for the dogs, the tourists will be safe.”

Oscar Silveira, an expert in pet training and animal behavior, believes that the government should look for ways to make the state safe for tourists by finding ways to reduce the stray animal population.

Oscar Silveira, an expert in pet training and animal behavior, believes that the government should look for ways to make the state safe for tourists by finding ways to reduce the stray animal population.

“Goa earns a lot from tourists, and if they don’t feel safe here, it will lead to fewer tourists. The stray dogs need to be sterilized and Mission Rabies is doing its part. But it will take some time for the situation to improve,” Silveira said.

CANINE ALERT: A Russian tourist took a video after she was attacked by stray dogs in Benaulim, requesting the department to take action against stray dogs in the state.

Some fishermen from Benaulim believe that since the huts have been closed for the season, the leftover food (from the huts) being given to the strays has stopped.

Carlos, a trawler owner, said: “The leftover food from most of the huts would be given to the strays. Now that they are closed, the dogs remain hungry and attack people.”

Veteran veterinarian Dr. Gustav Pinto says you should take precautions if you see an aggressive dog.

“Don’t run if you see a dog coming towards you. Remain silent. The dog will smell you and let you go. Don’t stone or hit the dog – it may retaliate,” he warns.

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