Dog own­ers con­cerned about pos­si­ble poi­son­ing

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS - By Sharon Small­wood

RES­I­DENTS of Man­dalay have been left reel­ing af­ter three dogs ap­pear to have swal­lowed poi­son last week.

Jared McCann was the first to re­alise some­thing was amiss when his pure-bred Pomera­nian puppy Teddy fell sick.

Teddy had been for a walk to the Man­dalay out­door chapel area with Mr McCann’s two chil­dren and the fam­ily’s neigh­bours on Thurs­day af­ter­noon.

“That night Teddy started foam­ing at the mouth. We took him to the vet but he died on the Fri­day morn­ing,” Mr McCann said.

At 5pm on Fri­day, the Pic­cinelli fam­ily’s dogs Mack, a kelpie cross and Buddy, a Labrador, also went for a walk in the same area.

Janice Pic­cinelli said both dogs re­turned home shak­ing, sali­vat­ing and froth­ing at the mouth, be­fore ma­jor con­vul­sions set in.

On Satur­day morn­ing, Mrs Pic­cinelli started door-knock­ing to see if her neigh­bours could shed any light.

Af­ter hear­ing Mr McCann’s story, the pair set off to­gether to in­spect the chapel area where they found a fine white pow­der at the base of the wooden bench seats.

Mr McCann said the pow­der was re­ported to Whit­sun­day Re­gional Coun­cil, whose of­fi­cers took sam­ples from the site.

He said a wed­ding was held at the chapel on Valen­tine’s Day – last Thurs­day.

“Ev­ery­one’s been very cagey about it... but we need to know what it is. I’m just hop­ing some­one will step for­ward. It’s been hor­ri­ble for us,” he said.

Orchid Val­ley Vet­eri­nary Surgery owner Mark Wil­liams, who treated Teddy, said the dog cer­tainly ap­peared to have in­gested some sort of toxin.

“He ini­tially pre­sented with pretty much the symp­toms of toad poi­son­ing but it wasn’t a toad – that be­came ob­vi­ous,” Mr Wil­liams said.

“We as­cer­tained it was some­thing he’d taken in orally be­cause he had in­juries con­sis­tent with chemical burns on the back of his tongue.” Whit­sun­day mayor Jennifer Whit­ney con­firmed Coun­cil had re­ceived a com­plaint about the al­leged poi­son­ing of dogs at the Man­dalay out­door chapel.

She said Coun­cil of­fi­cers were in­ves­ti­gat­ing the mat­ter.

“We can­not com­ment fur­ther at this stage, so as not to prej­u­dice the on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” she said.

A Queens­land Health spokes­woman said the depart­ment of pub­lic health had not been con­tacted by po­lice about the in­ci­dent. “We do au­tho­rise bait­ing of wild dogs with strych­nine but there are no cur­rent cam­paigns to do that,” she said.

Mean­while, Mack and Buddy are both home from the vet’s but Buddy is not yet able to walk.

Mrs Picinelli and Mr McCann are keep­ing all their pets at home and urg­ing other lo­cal res­i­dents to do the same un­til test re­sults have been con­firmed.

DEV­AS­TATED: Man­dalay res­i­dent Jared McCann with his Pomera­nian puppy Teddy who died last Fri­day morn­ing.

UN­DER IN­VES­TI­AG­TION: A white pow­der was found at the base of the wooden seats at the Man­dalay out­door chapel. Photo by Andrew Pat­tin­son/Vampp Pho­tog­ra­phy.

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