Mystery remains over death of dogs

INVESTIGATORS trying to find out how two healthy dogs ended up dead within days of each other in a Suffolk village have ruled out pesticide poisoning.

Laurence Cawley

INVESTIGATORS trying to find out how two healthy dogs ended up dead within days of each other in a Suffolk village have ruled out pesticide poisoning.

Further tests are now being carried out to try and discover what happened to the dogs in Botesdale, near Bury St Edmunds, in May.

The first incident involved a nine-year-old border collie called Cassie, which died after developing breathing difficulties and coughing up blood.


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The second, which happened just a few days later, involved an eight-year-old dog called Zak, which died after being taken to a nearby veterinary practice.

The second dog's owner was taken to West Suffolk Hospital with breathing problems.

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Natural England and the Health and Safety Executive were called in to investigate the cause of the incidents - but so far tests have proved inconclusive and mystery still surrounds what happened to the dogs and the second dog's owner.

A spokesman for Natural England, which investigated the incident, said: “Following a report to the Natural England Wildlife Management and Licensing unit of suspected dog poisonings at Botesdale, tissue samples from one of the dogs that died were made available to us for toxicological analysis.

“The Central Science Laboratory (CSL), undertaking the analysis on the dog tissue, has not found any residue of pesticides regarded as being capable of killing a dog and which had been applied to the fields.

“At present the cause of death in the dog remains uncertain. We are currently awaiting the results of further tests and it is anticipated that these results will be available towards the end of August.”

Abi Townsend, Natural England's regional access and recreation adviser, said: “In terms of offering advice, as with all dogs being walked in the countryside, never let your pet out of your sight or let it eat or drink what it finds when you are out for a walk.

“If owners are concerned about the health of their dog after being walked in the countryside they should contact a vet as soon as possible for advice.”

Any suspected cases of pesticide poisoning should be reported to the Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme as soon as possible on 0800 321 600.

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