Slug pellets left dog seriously ill

A FARM worker was yesterday fined £500, plus costs, following a spillage of slug pellets on a farm which led to a dog becoming seriously ill.Thomas Land, from Southminster, was also ordered by Chelmsford Magistrates' Court to pay a compensation order of £429.

A FARM worker was yesterday fined £500, plus costs, following a spillage of slug pellets on a farm which led to a dog becoming seriously ill.

Thomas Land, from Southminster, was also ordered by Chelmsford Magistrates' Court to pay a compensation order of £429.10 in respect of veterinary fees.

The case arose following a dog being walked on farmland at Purleigh, near Maldon, on November 15, 2004. The dog was walking off its lead and ran ahead of its owner. Shortly afterwards it was seen to be eating something in the corner of a field.

Later that day, the dog became seriously ill and was rushed to a vet who provided treatment. It has now made a full recovery.


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The farmer, David Fleming, from Mundon, had charges against him dropped after he agreed to be bound over in the sum of £500 for a year.

A joint investigation into the incident was launched by Pc Barry Kaufmann-Wright, wildlife crime officer for Essex Police, and Paul Cantwell and Duncan Brown from the rural development service, part of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

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Speaking after the case, Pc Kaufmann-Wright, said: "We found that the dog involved had eaten from a pile of slug pellets which had been spilt on the ground. The pile was quite large and other smaller piles were found close by.

"Although there had been some attempt to clear up the spillages following the incident being reported to the farmer by the dog owner, these were inadequate. During interview with the farmer and one of his workers, we established that the field had been subjected to an application of slug pellets.

"As Essex Police wildlife crime officers, we work very closely with Paul and his colleagues in the rural development service and the successful result in this case goes to illustrate the success of partnership working when dealing with environmental and wildlife crime."

Mr Cantwell, wildlife management adviser, added: "This case underlines the importance on all users of pesticides to read the label very carefully and follow all instructions given.

"In this particular case, the product's label required by law that all spillages be cleared up and this failed to be carried out. Although the dog was not on a public right of way when eating from the spillages, the pellet's could still be accessed by other non-target species, such as badgers and birds."

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