DOG lovers are being warned to be vigilant when walking their pets after a substance believed to be snail bait or rat poison was found in two recreational areas of Orange.
Orange City Council spokesman Allan Reeder confirmed there had been two reports of the bait in the past four days, one near a walkway in the Ploughman’s Lane wetlands and the other near the footpath in the leash-free area adjacent to Duntryleague, Wirrabarra Walk.
Mr Reeder said while council didn’t want to alarm people, it was concerning to learn the poison had been left alongside walkways in places frequented by small children and dogs.
“It may well be an emerging trend,” he said.
“We don’t know if they’re targeting dogs but there’s a risk that a small child could pick it up.”
He said council had reported the incidents to police and rangers would step up their patrols.
“Council staff can’t be everywhere so we’d like residents who live near areas such as leash free parks to be on the lookout,” Mr Reeder said.
He said it was more important than ever for dogs to be effectively controlled in leash-free areas.
“Dogs must be able to come immediately when called, and respond to commands,” he said.
Mulberry Lane Veterinary Clinic veterinarian Judith Carney said a dog could die as a result of ingesting snail bait.
She said she had recently treated a dog that had ingested snail bait and it was lucky to survive.
She said the dog suffered several seizures and required hospitalisation for three days before recovering.
Dr Carney said leaving snail bait in areas frequented by dogs was criminal.
“I think it’s a real worry,” she said.
“Snail bait is palatable for dogs but it’s very toxic.”
Dr Carney warned people to be careful when walking their dogs.
“I’d advise caution and recommend you just pop them on a lead.”