Dog deaths investigated after suspected poisoning

Lucy McCance
Lucy McCance said Biggs, her three-year-old springer spaniel cross, became ill a day after the walk [BBC]

Police are investigating two separate reports of dogs being walked in Devon ingesting a poison.

Two spaniels being walked together fell ill after being exercised at Fingle Bridge on Dartmoor, owned by the National Trust, on Friday 12 April.

Both animals were taken to the vets before they died, and one owner said initial tests indicated poisoning.

The National Trust said during searches of the land "nothing had been found" that could have caused illness.

Another dog owner said her pet was in intensive care after walking in the area on Sunday 14 April.

'Ingested something'

Lucy McCance said Biggs, her three-year-old springer spaniel cross, started to become ill the following night and received veterinary treatment on 14 April.

She said: "I contacted my friend who I'd been on the walk with and said 'my dog is really ill' and she said 'well, that's very odd, because my dog is very ill as well'.

"When the vets did the bloods on her dog, what they found was that the blood test results were exactly the same, so both dogs had ingested something on the walk that was poisonous."

Ms McCance said the dogs never left her sight during the walk but at one point appeared to have their noses in "what looked like a piece of animal poo".

She said Biggs died after suffering a "sudden, huge haemorrhage" at the vets on 15 April.

"My friend's dog lasted a bit longer and died pretty horrifically a couple of days later," Ms McCance added.

"It's been absolutely horrendous. Biggs was my best friend and he was the best dog in the whole world.

"Nothing's going to bring my dog back, nothing's going to bring my friend's dog back.

"I just want nobody else to have to go through this, no other dog to die in such horrendous circumstances."

'Investigating and searching'

The National Trust said it was aware of the two incidents of dogs falling ill after being exercised at Fingle Bridge.

It said: "We are very sorry to hear that subsequently two dogs have died.

"We take this very seriously and our rangers are investigating and searching our land.

"So far nothing has been found and there is no evidence of anything on land in our care that could have caused the dogs to fall ill.

"Our thoughts are with the owners of these family pets during this difficult time."

An organised ranger walk scheduled for Friday has been postponed.

Devon and Cornwall Police said it had received a report of "two separate incidents around 12 April where dogs being walked in the area of Drewsteignton are believed to have ingested a poison".

It said the dogs had "sadly died following the incidents", and inquiries were ongoing "to understand the full circumstances".

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