Like any normal day, Nov. 11 morning dawned. Stella Mary, SCN, and I were excited to be on our way to promote vocations in Palakkad as per our plan. Well! God had obvious plans for me as a rabid dog ran towards me bit me so badly that it left five wounds, two which were very deep. Sister Beena Chirackal came to my rescue and took me to a hospital which unfortunately for me had no vaccination to administer. We then moved to the government hospital, where the treatment began.
It was there that I came to know that the dog menace was a common occurrence in the area as five people were bitten in the previous two days, and still, the local government had not taken any action. A latest Supreme Court Order had given compensation to the stray dog bite victims, which ordinary people were unaware of. So we realized the seriousness of the matter and felt the plan of God is for us to take some action against this.
We reported the matter to the local TV channel, which came and shot my story and published. Then after three days I went to the District Judge and complained about the lack of action done by the local government body and also appealed for compensation eleven persons (including me) affected by a dog bite. He asked me to make a formal complaint and to collect all the people. We drafted the petitions asking the local government to give a reason for their insufficient measure to control the hazard.
I also filed individual petitions demanding a compensation of `15,000 – `20,000 for the compensation to each victim, which amount to one lack fifty thousand. Both of our petitions were taken up in the District Court and after hearing our concerns, the Judge demanded that the local officials submit a detailed report and to look into the concerns raised by us.
We received notice later from the state commission regarding the visit from the Siri Gagan committee members from Trivandrum to in order to collect evidence and to make a recommendation for compensation. Though such incidents of stray dog bites were a regular feature in Kerala, it was only when I became a victim that I realized the frightening reality. I feel glad that I was able to fight for the ordinary people and force the local government to formulate new measures.
Joicy Joy, SCN