A 60-year-old physically challenged farmer and two others from his family risked their own lives to rescue their pet dog, a Dobermann, from the jaws of a leopard at Kandali village, about 6km from Narayangaon in Junnar taluka. The incident occurred at around 5.15 am on Saturday.
Ashok Bhade, who moves using crutches, heard the dog barking incessantly early on Saturday morning and came out of his house with two family members to check on him. They saw a leopard had attacked the Dobermann and had caught its neck in his jaws.
As the leopard dragged the dog for about 100m, towards a rivulet nearby, Bhade and the two others chased him away by beating sticks. One of the men even burst crackers to rattle the leopard. The wildcat finally left the Dobermann and slipped into the nearby sugar cane field. “We have taken our pet, who suffered injuries to the neck, stomach, and leg, to a treatment facility run by the forest department,” Bhade’s son Sanket said.
The family has a bungalow surrounded by sugar cane fields. Their dog, named Saheb, sleeps in a corner of the veranda at their house.
The farmer said, “We could barely think about anything else but saving Saheb’s life when we saw him in the leopard’s jaw. We literally chased the leopard and rescued our dog. We were ready to face the animal’s attack in the process.”
“This is the second time Saheb has come under attack from a leopard. In 2018, he saved two puppies from a leopard by literally jumping on the back of the wild animal. Saheb had then suffered serious injuries to his leg,” recalled Bhade.
Manchar range forest officer Ajay Shinde, under whose jurisdiction the leopard attack took place, told TOI, “Junnar and its adjoining talukas are known for the presence of a high number of leopards and during the winter months when cane cutting begins, the big cat tends to move away from the cane fields and closer to human habitats, resulting in such incidents.”
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