A pack of stray dogs mauled a 5-year-old boy to death while he was trying to catch a kite near a dump yard. The incident happened in the northern Indian state of Punjab on Tuesday when local residents were celebrating the annual kite-flying festival.

Some people saw the child, identified only by his first name Ravneet, being dragged by the stray dogs. They rescued the boy and rushed him to a nearby hospital but he was declared dead there. The victim's mother, who worked as a house help, was at work at the time.

"I was at work when someone informed me that my son was attacked by stray dogs. I wake up at 5 am and work as a domestic help in the village. My husband left us a year back. I was taking care of two daughters, aged 13 and 10, and my son," Meena Rani, the child's mother, told the Hindustan Times.

Paramjit Kaur, a resident of the village, said, "The family is poor and Meena is caring for all her children alone. The stray dogs also attack the locals and cattle. One cannot go in the ‘hadda rodi’ (a dump yard for dead animals) area alone. The administration has failed to curb the stray menace."

"The issue of 'hadda rodi' has been raised several times, but to no avail. The administration should shift the location to resolve the stray dog menace," Ishwar Singh, a local resident who took the child to the hospital, told the local newspaper.

Authorities said an autopsy will be conducted soon to determine the exact cause of death. Dhuri sub-divisional magistrate (DSM) Latif Ahmed promised to address the stray dog issue in the area.

Last month, a 9-year-old boy was mauled to death by stray dogs while he was playing with his friends in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad. At least four dogs were reportedly involved in the attack. The victim, identified as Ayaan, was flying kite along with two friends when the dogs charged at them.

"While the rest of the children managed to escape from the spot, Ayaan could not. The dogs chased him around for a while before attacking him. The boy was injured and died on the spot," A Narsimha Rao, a police officer, told local media at the time.

stray dogs
This is a representational image. AFP / Dibyangshu SARKAR