A breastfeeding mother in Pallisa wants her husband punished for forcing her to breastfeed his five puppies.
The 27-year-old Jennifer Alupot of Okurutuk village, Apopong sub-county said she had been married to Nathan Amoloi for over eight years.
â€œI produced four children but one of them died last year,â€ she said. â€œNow I have a three-month-old baby but my husband has been forcing me to share the breast milk with his five puppies,â€ she said.
Good Samaritans who have been helping her said the child had begun barking like puppies.
Alupot, who reported two cases of child neglect and assault, said the Police were frustrating her. Asked what punishment she wanted Amoloi to face, Alupot said: â€œHe has humiliated me for long. I want him imprisoned for life.â€ Activists in addition want Amoloi to be charged with mistreatment.
Alupot is now getting support from ActionAid in Pallisa and the Pentecostal Revival Ministries. The little mud-and-wattle hut, which the church offered her, is a hive of activity as hordes of villagers throng the place to see â€œthe woman who breastfed dogsâ€.
Narrating her frustration with the Police, Alupot said the Police arrested Amoloi but released him after two days. Apparently angered by the reporting, Amoloi beat Alupot to near death, she said.
â€œHe then forced me to breastfeed his puppies,â€ Alupot explained. â€œHe told me I had to breastfeed his dogs since he had paid two cows as dowry to my parents.â€
Alupot said her husband brings home squirrels which he sometimes roasts in the bush. â€œThat is why he wants his dogs healthy for hunting,â€ she said.
Rose Odoi, the ActionAid coordinator, said: â€œIf we didnâ€™t intervene, Alupot would be dead.â€ She said the baby had begun barking like a dog when the mother sought refuge at the offices of Women Wonâ€™t Wait, a charitable organisation which counsels women traumatised by domestic violence in Pallisa.
â€œHer breasts were swollen and had wounds inflicted by bites by the puppies,â€ she said.
Odoi said ActionAid would ensure that Alupotâ€™s â€œkillerâ€ husband was punished. â€œWe shall support her to get legal redress though the Police have let us down,â€ she said.
Neighbours confirmed that Amoloi had made his wife breastfeed his puppies. They said Amoloiâ€™s pack of hunting dogs had become â€œa hazard to the villageâ€, which is why the villagers killed them.
â€œAmoloi bought five puppies to replace the dead pack and wanted them to grow fast using breast milk,â€ said Festo Majanchi, ActionAid programme officer for Pallisa.
Amoloi, a seasoned hunter, had no kind words for his wife. â€œIf I had not paid my two cows in bride price my dogs would have milk to take,â€ Amoloi told journalists and ActionAid officials at his home on Saturday.
The furious Amoloi chased the group away, threatening to deal with them if they dared step in his compound again.
Reacting to accusations of frustrating Alupot, the district Police commander, Amos Gumisiriza, said Amoloi was released on bond as the Resident State Attorney prepared the file for the court process.
He expected Amoloi to face charges of child neglect, assault and â€œany others advised by the State Attorneyâ€.
Gumisiriza, however, suspected the woman to be mentally ill. But Wilson Otai, the head of the Pentecostal Revival Ministries church, described this as â€œrubbishâ€.
â€œThis woman got mental stress due to what she was undergoing,â€ he argued. â€œWe have been with her for three weeks and she wasnâ€™t like this when she came here.â€
The Pallisa child and family protection officer, Florence Amijong, said Amoloi had hidden the puppies and it was hard to investigate the case.
Commenting on the medical dangers both mother and child may be facing, Dr. Alex Opio, the assistant commissioner of national disease control, ruled out rabies.
â€œBy the time a dog shows signs of rabies, it is mad and it just bites instead of suckling,â€ he said. He suggested that the baby be taken to a health unit to find out the cause of the barking.
Dr. Vincent Karuhanga of Friends Polyclinic Kampala said the barking could have been caused by associating with the puppies.
â€œThat is why children are most likely to speak the language of housemaids,â€ he said. â€œA child does not make noise just because it shared milk with dogs,â€ he said.
He said the mother needed counselling and to keep the child away from the puppies.
Woman forced to breastfeed dogs