Burari deaths: Tommy the dog, "only remaining family member," dies
Tommy, whom relatives of the Burari mass suicide family called "our only remaining family member," died yesterday after a heart attack. When officials found the dog on the terrace of the Bhatias after they had killed themselves, he had high fever, but was recuperating at Noida's House of Stray Animals. Till yesterday evening, he was behaving normally, activists said. A post-mortem will be conducted.
On July 1, 11 members of the Bhatia family who stayed in Burari were found dead. Most were hanging, one was on the floor. When investigators found Tommy, he was sick and aggressive. It took them 90 minutes to muzzle him and put him in an ambulance, said activist Sanjay Mohapatra. They shifted him to an animal shelter, and Mohapatra adopted the six-year-old Indian-Pitbull mix breed.
Days later, Prashant Singh Chundawat, a Kota-based relative of the Bhatias, emailed him, thanking him "for adopting and taking care of our only remaining family member." "It is very difficult for us to get him (to Kota) as he isn't familiar with us and is very aggressive," Chundawat wrote. "He also offered us monetary support for looking after Tommy, but we declined it," Mohapatra said.
Talking about Tommy's condition, Mohapatra said he was depressed initially and refused food for two days. But his condition had improved and he "was also acting friendly." "I had started taking him on morning and evening walks." Yesterday too, he ate on time and went for a walk in the noon. Mohapatra took him for a walk again in the evening, but he collapsed after returning.
Experts involved in Tommy's care said two blood tests had been conducted on him. The second showed fewer platelets than normal, but "way above the danger level." But they aren't surprised. "It's possible he might have had a history of medical issues," said Geeta Seshamani, Vice-President, Friendicoes. Moreover, he weighed 35kg, and "overweight dogs tend to suffer from heart failure," said veterinarian Dr Diwakar Mishra.
For now, they have preserved his body with ice blocks. Delhi Police will conduct a post-mortem today. "I have informed a relative regarding Tommy's death," Mohapatra said. The Bhatias' deaths had gained major attention due to seemingly mysterious aspects, but notes found in their house showed they believed they would be saved by the spirits of their dead relatives.