ONE of Bahrain's largest animal breeding and research centres has fallen prey to a spree of wild dog attacks with 13 animals slaughtered and 10 injured within three days.
Packs of strays have been digging tunnels under the fence-line of the Directorate of Animal Wealth's Animal Production Section, where they have been seeking refuge from the summer heat in the agricultural area and hunting the livestock at night.
Officials say the dogs were never a problem, but recently have been over-breeding near the Hamala facility, which focuses on animal research and development.
However, they have now stepped up security around the facility to ensure no more stray dogs get in.
"It all started days ago, on the first day we arrived at Pen One, where we keep goats, and found five animals mauled to death and a few injured," said the facility's animal protection superintendent Sayed Mohsin.
"The next day another five were killed in the same pen and one was injured.
"We didn't think it would happen again, but on the third day we found two more dead animals and even more injured.
"There was a total of 10 injured animals over the three days and then one of the injured animals died."
The GDN visited the site and saw packs of dogs running through the sprinkle-filled field, which has an inexhaustible food source for the wild animals.
The facility's staff have been trying to tackle the problem, but say they are helpless without intervention from authorities and police.
"We have a lot of wild dogs in the facility because the area is not adequately fenced off and the dogs get in through little openings in the fence," added Mr Mohsin.
"They are breeding in the complex under trees and in the garbage area and we have filed a complaint at the police station, but they haven't done anything.
"We actually stopped one of the dogs from killing some livestock and then we had to put him down."
The section's animal vet and breeding expert Ahmed Mohamed Hassan confirmed the wounds the animals suffered were a result of dog attacks.
"It was definitely a dog attack, but it was almost like they would eat and kill again for fun, which is not a normal activity," he explained.
"Some of the injured animals are still on the table undergoing treatment.
"Some are doing well, but others may not make it."
Mr Hassan said after the attacks, the other animals on the filed have felt anxious and have been difficult to approach, even for examinations.
He fears a canine epidemic might break out in the facility if one of the wild dogs has rabies and mates with the other domesticated ones.
"This has the making of a potential disaster, for instance if the rabies virus is introduced, it will spread rapidly and uncontrollably among the wild dog population," he added.
However, officials have stepped up security around the facility to prevent more stray dogs from entering the area.
"We have put security guards near Pen One where most of the animals were attacked and it seems to have worked," said sheep area supervisor Jassim Ali.