Mystery of 16 Poisoned Dogs; Pets Die in Agony after Walking in Field

Daily Mail (London), May 31, 2011 | Go to article overview

Mystery of 16 Poisoned Dogs; Pets Die in Agony after Walking in Field


Byline: Chris Brooke

A POPULAR dog walking spot has been closed after 16 pets mysteriously died or became ill.

Officials suspect the animals may have been poisoned, but no one knows if they were deliberately targeted or died by accident.

In almost all instances, the dogs collapsed and died in agony within minutes of returning from a walk along a tree-lined footpath which leads down to fields by a lake.

The death toll has reached 13 within one week and three others are seriously ill. Vets are carrying out postmortem examinations to try to pinpoint the exact cause of death.

Slug or snail pellets, anti-freeze and toxic mushrooms are among possible causes. A pool of water nearby was initially thought to contain toxic but the experts said that had been ruled out.

Families in the village of Cross Hills, North Yorkshire, have been stunned by the loss of their pets.

Eileen Johnson's Jack Russell Diesel was one of the first dogs to die when he collapsed just ten minutes after returning home from a walk.

Mrs Johnson, 71, had put the kettle on after the walk when she heard a thump and turned around to see her six year-old pet having a fit.

'We walk the fields five days a week and I can't believe this has happened. He was a lovely, lively little thing. He had never been ill and then he died so suddenly as if someone just came in and shot him in front of my eyes.'

Louise Horsforth's dog Lola, a spaniel cross, had a 'lucky escape' when she was taken ill following a walk.

Mother of two Mrs Horsforth, 46, said: 'She started fitting after her walk on Sunday evening. At first the vet thought it was epilepsy but they took it really seriously.

'It's so strange that so many dogs have died, I am so lucky Lola survived. My kids would have been devastated.' She said there was a delay in picking up the scale of the problem because half the dogs went to one local veterinary practice and the other half were taken to the other. …

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