Sources said, construction contractor Velayudham (45) of Erthangal village near Gudiyattam was sleeping outside his house on Wednesday night while his wife Prema (36), son Manoharan (19) and daughter Mahalakshmi (16) were sleeping inside the house. The main door was open for ventilation.
Around 1 am, a leopard came out of the nearby reserve forest and entered the village in search of prey. It was seen by stray dogs which started chasing it. Amid all this chaos, the animal entered Velayudham’s house through the open front door. On hearing the continuous barking of dogs, he and Prema woke up and were shocked to see the animal enter. Their screams apparently agitated the beast, which attacked all the three members inside the house.
While Prema received a deep cut on her forehead, Manoharan received scratch marks on his back and Mahalakshmi’s left hand was injured. The frightened family ran out of the house and locked the front door trapping the animal inside.T
hey immediately alerted the local forest staff who in turn alerted their superiors. DFO Bhargav Teja and others rushed to the spot. A metal cage was brought and placed in front of the front door to trap the animal when it would come out. However, the forest staff also contacted their counterparts in Hosur to ask for back up to tranquillise the carnivore.
By then, a huge crowd had gathered in front of the house, eager to see the animal. Finally, the tranquilliser team from Hosur arrived around 11 am on Thursday. As the animal was still inside, locals were asked to drill a hole in the wall to chase it to the front door.
The leopard, perhaps scared by the noise, ran into the hall when the authorities fired the tranquiliser shots.
Once unconscious, the animal was stretchered into the cage, while the injured family members were treated at the Gudiyattam government hospital. Later, the trapped animal was released into the wild near the Vellore – AP border abutting Pernambut.