Sydney dog owners are on high alert this week after a baiting incident was reported on social media.
A member of a Dulwich Hill Facebook group shared images of "suspicious meat coated in something" that she found distributed on nature strips along Canterbury Rd near Morton Park in the adjacent inner west suburb of Lewisham.
In a later edit to her post, the woman said she had now collected every piece of the apparently tainted meat that she could find and was alarmed to discover it nearly filled an entire "Coles bag".
"Thank you for doing that. It's so dangerous for wildlife as well," commented a grateful group member, while another simply wrote, "OMG". Inner West Council has been approached for comment.
Sydney dog dies of suspected baiting
The new incident comes just weeks after Waverley Council issued a warning to residents in Sydney's eastern suburbs after a dog died after eating "something in or near a pile of leaves under a tree on Ocean Street [Bondi]."
Dog owners! Unfortunately we're investigating a possible dog baiting on Ocean Street near the Bondi Road Post Office. Please keep your dog on the lead and be aware of what they might be eating. Report suspicious activity to Police on 131 444. pic.twitter.com/wMTXMkd03q
— Waverley Council (@WaverleyCouncil) September 16, 2022
Speaking at the time, a Waverley Council spokesperson said the affected dog returned home from a walk in mid-September and fell ill not long after.
Dog baiting involves placing poison inside food or treats in public areas where dogs are likely to find them, and often leads to death if the poisoned animal is not immediately treated by a vet.
Although it's not clear exactly why people bait dogs and other pets, concern for the natural environment is a rather flawed motive as baits are readily picked up by birds and other native animals. Rangers investigating the incident in Bondi in September found two dead pigeons in the area, though it's not clear whether the three deaths are related.
Severe punishment for baiting
Poisoning animals is a serious offence in every Australian state and territory, with offenders facing massive fines and hefty jail terms. In NSW, the offence is covered by the Crimes Act 1900 and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979, with penalties of up to five years jail and fines of up to $22,000 for an individual or $110,000 for a corporation.
Suspected baiting offences should be reported to NSW Police on 131 444 and local councils. Dog owners are urged to keep their pets on leashes and be hyper vigilant about anything they might be eating.
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