A man out for a walk in Karachi's DHA was attacked by two pet dogs, sparking a debate on pet ownership. The dogs were being walked by a handler who was unable to control them or even pull them off as they attacked the man.
The man in question has been identified as Mirza Akhter Ali, a lawyer. Ali, though injured, is out of danger, and has filed an attempted murder FIR in the case. The two handlers have been arrested.
CCTV footage of the incident circulated on social media, sparking debates about pet ownership. Disclaimer: the video is very graphic and should be watched at your own discretion.
In the video, the dogs are not on a leash. They run at and pounce on the victim while the handler looks on in horror. He tries to pull off the dogs but to no avail and eventually runs away to get some help. In the meantime, the man writhes on the ground, trying to get away from the dogs. Eventually, the handler returns with another man who helps pull the dogs off.
The owner of the dogs was identified as Humayun Khan, a former police officer, who has also been nominated in the FIR.
The internet debate can be divided into two groups — one side maintains that pet owners are responsible for the behaviour of their pets while the other says pets shouldn't be kept at all.
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy shared a post on her Instagram Story that claimed that the dogs were known to be dangerous and that neighbours had previously also reported the owners to DHA.
Lawyer and activist Jibran Nasir said dog are adopted, like children, not bought like furniture. "It has needs and when you adopt it you sign up to fulfil those needs and perform that responsibility," he wrote.
Assigning the responsibility for the incident entirely on the owners, he said, "Leaving untrained pets in hands of untrained staff can have fatal consequences."
Other social media users shared similar opinions.
In the opposite camp, some people argued against having pet dogs altogether. They said animals can't truly be domesticated.
This user made their thoughts clear, saying dogs are "not to be kept in homes."
This one called for a complete ban on pet dogs.
Many people in Pakistan have little patience for dogs — pets or strays — and have called for them to be culled after cases of dog attacks. That has also been, in part, the government's strategy to deal with stray dogs — culling. This new video has strengthened many people's resolve that this is the only answer to the problem.
This user spoke about how such ideas lead to harmless stray dogs in her neighbourhood, which is not the same as the attack, being put down.
We don't agree with the argument that dogs can't be domesticated but we do believe that pet owners need to step up. If you take on the responsibility of owning a pet, you must train that pet and ensure that it isn't violent. Many animals find themselves stuck in toxic and careless households where they have no training and are left to their own devices. If you own a pet, be responsible.