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Who let the dogs out? Anxiety hits Vihiga residents after constant attacks

Chained dogs in Kakamega County. [Nanjinia Wamuswa, Standard]

A walk to school in Havuyiya village in Vihiga County early in the morning sparks fear.

It is a frightening affair that many residents would rather skip. 

Many parents are forced to escort their children to school fearing stray dogs, which are rampant in the area, will attack them. 

Last Wednesday, three pupils of Havuyiya Primary were heading to school shortly before 7am when a marauding mongrel attacked them.

Two of them were lucky to escape unscathed but their colleague, David Achala, a Grade Two pupil was not so lucky. The dogs attacked him, bit his left leg and left him bleeding profusely. “My son was in the company of his friends when the dog attacked them. He could not run as fast as his colleagues. He is lucky to be alive,” said Achala’s mother, Ms Pamela Achala.

Achala is not the first victim of such attacks. 

In the past two weeks, according to residents, at least seven people including pupils have been attacked.

School going children from Hayuyiya, Igunga and Viyalo appear to be at a higher risk. Residents claim the dogs’ attack early morning and late in the evening.

Priscilah Chunguli, a nurse at a local clinic said they have been receiving many cases of people suffering from dog bites. “Every day, I treat at least one case. Most of them are students who come with bites on their legs and hands. Sadly, we are running out of anti-rabies drugs,” she said.

“The anti-rabies dose I gave my patients had to be bought from Bukura in Kakamega. This poses danger to my patients because the jab has to be administered within 72 hours after the bite,” said Ms Chunguli.

The medic advises that once one is bitten by a dog, they should seek immediate treatment, and get the wound cleaned and dressed, before getting antibiotics and five anti-rabies shots.

Havuyiya Primary School headteacher, Mr Julius Munagwe, said they have advised pupils to be walking in groups of at least three to scare away the stray dogs.

“We have advised students to be vigilant and walk in groups to scare away the dogs. We also urge parents to escort their children to school to avert such attacks,” said Mr Munangwe.

Residents are now demanding the county government to poison all the stray dogs in the area.

Onzere Mudangale said authorities should move with speed to deal with the issue before it gets out of hand.

He said the dogs hide in nearby bushes making it difficult for the villagers to kill them.

“The stray dogs are smart and attack when least expected.  After biting their victims, they retreat fast into the bush. You will only hear of them hours later after they have attacked another victim,” said Mr Mudangale.

Chavakali location Chief Hesbon Kevogo said plans are underway to hunt all the stray dogs.

He urged locals to notify security agencies whenever they spot the stray dogs.