Ernakulam, Kerala: The war on dogs has claimed lives of 24 strays in Kerala's Ernakulam district. The local panchayat, which admits to the massacre, has not even spared puppies.
Claiming they have the support of the local residents, the members of the panchayat at Kaladi directs NDTV to the nearby Sree Shankaracharya University.
Among the many dog bite victims there are Ambily MP and Lissy Mathew -- two of the university's staff members. They are the reason why the university appealed to the panchayat to take action against strays.
"I am a dog lover but stray dogs are becoming dangerous," said 44-year-old Ambily. "I don't know about the killings by the panchayat, but there is no other way out. I still shiver when I see a stray dog. There are so many cases of dog bites within this university."
But there is also a sense of horror at the violence against the animals.
"I don't think killing dogs is a solution. Dog-killing on the pretext of saving people is almost a festival these days," said a student pursuing her Masters' degree in English at the same university.
The government claims to have restarted the Animal Birth Control Programme or ABC -- sterilisation operations that are the legal and humane to reduce dog numbers. But this panchayat does not consider it a solution.
Panchayat president advocate K Tulasi said sterilization is not an answer so far as they are concerned since they lack the means to go about it.
The panchayat, however, admits that they delegated the task of dog killing to the Stray Dogs Eradication Group.
A blame game, however, has started since a police case was filed.
Jose Maveli, who heads Stray Dog Eradication Group and is out on bail, claims he is "not a killer".
"I am a human being. People approach me and I give them the numbers of various dog catchers who can help them," he said. But even he is convinced that sterilization of strays isn't the answer. "ABC cannot work since the government is sleeping. Dogs have to be eradicated."
The panchayat says the dog killings will continue as long as the dog bites do.