DOG owners in Chester are being warned to be more vigilant after a vet confirmed a pet he treated at his surgery is likely to have died from eating poison.
This was the second incident in recent months in which a dog has died of suspected poisoning after a city centre walk.
And it prompted the environmental health department at Cheshire West and Chester Council to instruct one of its officers to carry out an investigation into the matter.
Nantwich-based vet Richard Pescod treated the seven-year-old black Labrador Alfie after the dog had been taken for a walk through Chester.
Alfie belonged to Sandra Meredith, of Sandbach, but was often walked in Chester by Sandra’s friend Dale Pritchard, who lives in Boughton.
On Thursday, November 8, Dale took Alfie for a long walk along the canal towpath near the water tower at Boughton, through The Groves, over the Queen’s Park suspension bridge and across The Meadows to Eccleston.
Dale said: “There was one occasion when Alfie went out of sight on The Meadows.
“I took him home and Sandra said he started to cough on Friday and was given antibiotics by the vet. By Saturday, he was not eating any food and couldn’t get comfortable.
“On Sunday morning, Sandra heard their other dog Chester barking and she found Alfie collapsed.”
Alfie was rushed to Hillside Veterinary Centre where he was put on a drip but died later that morning.
The vet asked Sandra to ask Dale if the dog had eaten anything.
Dale said: “The vet was convinced that it was poison. I went back along the route I’d taken and found open top rat poison pots near the lock-keeper’s cottage by the water tower and sealed poison units near to the redundant Focus building but they looked old as if they’d not been put down recently.
“I spoke to dog walkers on The Meadows who said they had heard of other dogs who had been taken ill or died.”
Mr Pescod confirmed to The Chronicle that it was ‘most likely’ Alfie had died as a result of consuming poison and suggested the poison could have been a Coumadin-type rat bait.
Coumadin is the brand name for the drug warfarin.
Following Alfie’s death Mr Pritchard contacted environmental health officers at Cheshire West and Chester Council, who he described as ‘very helpful’.
A council spokesman said: “When we received the complaint an environmental health officer walked the route taken by the dog and found nothing untoward. We have been in touch with Mr Pritchard and offered him the opportunity to walk the route with one of our officers.”
Alfie is not the first dog to have died in such circumstances.
In July, a three-year-old chocolate Labrador named Daisy, belonging to Mel Graham, then of Hoole, died following a walk on The Meadows between The Groves and Heron Bridge.
“I was away, abroad and Daisy was being walked by a friend,” said Mel. “I got a phone call to say that within a few hours of the walk she started vomiting and became lethargic. She was checked during the night and found to be unconscious. She was taken to the vet’s and put on a drip but she died.
“It was so upsetting, she was part of our family.”