Marian police are looking into suspected dog baiting in the area, but are having trouble finding solid evidence.
Marian police are looking into suspected dog baiting in the area, but are having trouble finding solid evidence. Pixabay

Residents fear dogs being baited after deaths

A STRING of dog deaths in Marian thought to be linked to poison baiting has residents concerned about further incidents.

However, Marian police Senior Constable Marshall Roper said he'd only had one report of dog baiting in the last week or so, which he's been unable to prove.

And he believes baiting, if it's even occurring, would largely be the result of neighbourhood disputes, possibly sparked by barking dogs, and personal "vendettas".

Several Marian residents have taken to social media over the past week to report suspected baiting in Kennys Rd and McCall St after their dogs died.

Sen Const Roper asked anyone with solid evidence to come forward, but he did express concerns about mistaken reports sucking up limited police resources.

"One gentleman who contacted me to say his dog had been baited. But there's no evidence to point to that being the case. Without an autopsy or blood testing I'm not sure how we'd know," he said.

"He's (the pet owner) told me there's some people reporting the same things. Unfortunately, once something like this gets reported on Facebook everyone chips in saying their pet is unwell.

"The problem is, what's to say the dog hasn't run into a snake or cane toad? Bigger dogs may have even licked the toads and got high off them, which I've heard of."

Sen Const Roper said he'd canvassed neighbours and hardware shops in Marian after the suspected baiting, to look for witnesses or to find if baiting substances had been sold, but he came up empty-handed.

Currently though, he believes random baiting is unlikely and neighbourhood dispute or a similar situation, usually involving a continually barking dog, would be the cause.

Sen Const Roper encouraged Marian residents to invest in CCTV, which would eliminate guesswork for police.

Marian police have discovered rat poison in backyards amidst previous baiting allegations, such as early in January, Sen Const Roper said.

Meanwhile, a RSCPA Queensland spokesman said he wasn't aware of any official reports from Marian, or the wider Mackay region, regarding dog baiting.

He did say baiting was certainly not unheard of, though it was usually "very difficult" to investigate.

Baiting can also go unreported due to owners not knowing exactly why their dogs have died, or fallen ill.

"Normally with dog baiting, it's all over a neighbourhood dispute, or it's a situation with a barking dog," the spokesman said.

"Every now and then though, you get a loony who doesn't like dogs and will target multiple dogs. Often the police will be notified instead of us. And often pet owners may not know their dog has been baited until they go to the vet and they let the owners know."

Unless an autopsy is performed, often at an exorbitant cost, or the animal abuser is caught in the act, proving dogs have been baited can be quite difficult.

The spokesman suggested anyone concerned about dog baiting in their area to move their dog to a backyard, or an area not easily accessible by potential perpetrators.

If you think your dog has been deliberately poisoned seek vet advice, keep any evidence undisturbed and take photos and report the incident to Crime Stoppers on 1800333000 and the RSCPA on 1300 264 625.

Common Dog Poisons

And how they affect your dog.

  • Slug/snail pellets

Metaldehyde is a common ingredient of slug/snail baits or pellets. However, not all slug baits contain metaldehyde; it is important to check which type has been ingested. Metaldehyde poisoning is extremely serious and is usually fatal without urgent treatment. Metaldehyde is the most common known cause of dog deaths in cases referred to the VPIS.

Dogs may initially appear unsteady on their feet and twitchy, but may rapidly deteriorate and suffer continuous convulsions and possibly respiratory failure.

  • Chocolate

Chocolate poisoning is the most commonly reported type of dog poisoning reported to the Veterinary Poisons Information Service (VPIS). Chocolate contains the stimulant theobromine. Dark chocolate, cocoa mulch and cocoa contain high levels of theobromine.

Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea, dehydration, hyperactivity, high temperature and blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythm and tremors.

  • Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

Such as ibuprofen naproxen and many others.

Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea, bleeding from the gut, stomach ulceration and kidney failure.

Keep all drugs out of the reach of pets.

  • Rodent Poisons ('rodenticides')

This refers to anticoagulant rodenticides, such as warfarin, which prevent blood clotting. Not all rodenticides are anticoagulants. It's important to check which one has been ingested.

Poisoning may cause life-threatening bleeding; effects may not appear for several days. Bleeding may be internal and isn't always visible.

  • Grapes, raisins, sultanas, currants

Any quantity of these can be toxic. Cooking or baking doesn't reduce the risk of poisoning.

Poisoning may initially result in vomiting and diarrhoea and subsequently in kidney failure (which may occur a few days after the initial effects).

  • Vitamin D

Vitamin D exists in many forms and is found in a variety of products, such as creams and ointments for psoriasis.

Poisoning can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, bleeding from the gut, convulsions, abnormal heart rhythm and kidney failure. Effects may be delayed for several days and may be permanent.

(Source: RSPCA/Veterinary Poisons Information Service )

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