Baiting suspected in dog’s death

In happy times, Zeus the German Shepherd with owner Shaun Piddington. PHOTO: Supplied

A FAMILY is mourning the loss of their ‘best mate’ following a suspected baiting in Evanston Park.

Shaun Piddington has described the traumatising moment his beloved German Shepherd ‘Zeus’ passed away in the early hours of Sunday morning and said the incident has come as a complete shock.

“He was my best friend; he was only two years old so just feeling devastation,” Mr Piddington said.

“It feels like they killed one of my children, my baby.”

Mr Piddington suspects Zeus may have been poisoned with a popular farming bait, such as ‘1080’, thrown over his back fence as an unjustified reaction to Zeus’ increased barking.

“Usually a possum rocks up about nine o’clock and eats the fruit in the trees next door and any movement in the trees he just barks,” he said.

“I’ve been trying to get on top of it and have rang council to ask how to get rid of the possums, and that was only on Friday.

“But he has been sleeping inside every night because I knew it was the possum and people need to sleep.”

Mr Piddington said it was at about 5.30am on Sunday morning, shortly after Zeus had gone outside for his toilet break at his Mold Street home, that he knew something was seriously wrong.

“He was frothing from the mouth and just went berserk, like he was possessed,” he said.

“He was running in to everything, trying to get away he was so scared.

“I tried to get him outside and he just smashed through my back screen door and started smashing into everything outside – the fences, the shed.

“Then all of a sudden he fell on the ground and started having seizures, and after about five seizures he passed away.

“I rang the vet and he didn’t even get in there; it happened very quickly.”

Zeus was later taken to the Roseworthy Companion Animal Health Centre where Mr Piddington said the vet indicated it was a likely case of baiting.

“I rang the council to see if anyone had been complaining about him and his barking, but no not a thing; I had never had a complaint.

“I know everyone in my street and it is definitely no one on my road, but behind me I have a little alley way, so I don’t know if someone has come down there and popped it over the fence.

“It definitely happened at home, because I was with him all day Saturday while I was working in the garden and we had a barbecue that night, and he was fine all day all night.”

Barossa Police have urged anyone who believes their dogs have been poisoned to make a report to police.

They have received no reports of baiting in the local service area for at least the past six months.

Per the SA Animal Welfare Act 1985, a person who ill-treats an animal is guilty of an offence and faces a maximum penalty of a $20,000 fine or imprisonment for two years.

Where the ill-treatment results in death or serious harm of an animal, the maximum penalty is a $50,000 fine or imprisonment for four years.

POISONING SYMPTOMS

ROSEWORTHY Companion Health Centre manager Suzanne Baum has warned of some of the symptoms to look-out for when it comes to animal poisoning.

She said the most common toxicities seen in dogs are rodenticide, human medicines, such as paracetamol, or plant toxicity, such as from a Cedar tree or palm.

“The things we look for are any change in their behaviour, if they act like they are drunk or stumbling, can’t hold themselves up, have acute vomiting and diarrhoea, any unusual bruising on the skin or nose bleeds,” she said.

“So it can be any symptom or combination, and depending on the toxin, some dogs may be really agitated and unable to settle themselves down.”

Dr Baum said time of is the essence when it comes to treating toxicity in dogs, however when it comes reversing the effect of bait, such as those used for foxes or rodents, sometimes death can occur in just a few minutes.

The Australian Animal Poisons Centre ‘animalposions.com.au’ or ‘1300 869 738’ can provide emergency specialist advice to pet owners.

Ellouise Crawford

@ElleCrawford90

Ellouise Crawford joined The Bunyip in April, 2010, while completing a Bachelor of Journalism at the University of South Australia. Ellouise wrote The Bunyip’s Playford Times before joining the editorial team full-time in late-2011. She now covers the Light Regional Council region and enjoys writing about Gawler’s strong heritage, as well as its many passionate and inspirational residents. Ellouise grew up in Gawler and now lives in Wasleys with her family.

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