Tommy, the pet dog, was chained on the terrace and suffering from high fever when the police found him after discovering the 11 bodies in the Burari house. He was later said to have been convalescing at Noida’s House of Stray Animals, where he was taken immediately after being rescued.
The pet dog of the family whose 11 members were found dead at their residence in north Delhi’s Burari on July 1 in what appeared to be a case of mass suicide, died of a heart attack at his newfound home in Noida on Sunday.
Tommy, the only survivor in the house, was chained on the terrace and suffering from high fever when the police found him after discovering the 11 bodies. It was not clear who had tied him. He was later said to have been convalescing at Noida’s House of Stray Animals, where he was taken immediately after being rescued.
Noida-based animal activist Sanjay Mohapatra had adopted Tommy, 6, an Indian-Pitbull mix breed. Mohapatra said Tommy was aggressive and ferocious when an animal rescue team approached him on July 1. It took the team 90 minutes to muzzle the dog and put him in an ambulance.
“Initially, Tommy was depressed… He refused food for the first two days. But his condition improved over the next few days. He had resumed eating and was also acting friendly. I had started taking him on morning and evening walks…,” said Mohapatra.
“Tommy seemed fit and fine till Sunday evening. He had his meals on time and also went for a walk at 2pm. After I took him for a walk in the evening, and brought him home by 6pm, he suffered heart failure and collapsed all of a sudden,’’ said Mohapatra. “We took help of the veterinary doctor at our shelter and tried our best to revive him but failed.”
Tommy weighed 35kg, which veterinarians and animal experts consider healthy. He had undergone blood tests and his reports were fine. “It is possible that the dog might have had a history of medical issues and its previous owners did not know about it. We find such cases in animals that are of mix breeds. As the dog was brought into a new environment after the tragedy, it required love and attention at the centre. It is possible that the dog couldn’t adjust to the new environment and this took a toll on his health,” said Geeta Seshamani, vice president, Friendicoes.
Dr Santosh Kumar, the in-house veterinarian with House of Stray Animals, said: “We ran two blood tests on Tommy on July 2 and July 10. Initially, he was suffering from fever for the first two days but his condition improved later. In his last report, his blood count was normal. However, his platelet count was a little less but way above the danger level,’’ he said. “He suffered a heart failure and collapsed suddenly. We tried to revive him but we could not,” Kumar added.
Prashant Singh Chundawat, a grandson of Narayan Devi, the oldest Burari family member found dead, had recently e-mailed Mohapatra, thanking him “for adopting and taking care of our only remaining family member, Tommy’’.
“We live in Kota, Rajasthan, and it is very difficult for us to get him here as he is not familiar with us and is very aggressive,” he had written.
Noida-based veterinarian Dr Diwakar Mishra said a postmortem report would help understand causes of Tommy’s sudden heart failure. “However, we have usually seen that overweight dogs tend to suffer from heart failure.”
Mohapatra said he has informed a relative of the Burari family regarding the dog’s demise.
“I have informed a relative and the Delhi Police regarding Tommy’s death. We are preserving Tommy’s body with ice blocks and the postmortem exercise will be conducted by Delhi Police tomorrow (Monday).”
The eleven members of the Burari family were found dead on the morning of July 1, most of them hanging from the ceiling of their house, gagged and blindfolded. Their hands were tied behind the back, police officers investigating the case had said. A police statement said that handwritten notes were found in their house “which point towards observance of some definite spiritual/mystical practices by the whole family”.