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Parklands Safe Despite Dog Death

By Dan Hutton on February 2, 2016 in News

Photo: Henry Hutchings

Photo: Henry Hutchings

Local dog owners have been asked to remain vigilant after it was reported that one dog died and another fell ill after eating chicken laced with rat poison while on their morning walk in Queens Park.

Local businessman Christian Acuna reported that he was walking his twin beagle-cocker spaniel crosses in Queens Park in late December when he noticed them eating something they had found under a bush.

“I saw both of my dogs eating what looked like a boiled chicken breast, but because it was meat I didn’t really pay too much attention to it,” Mr Acuna told the Sydney Morning Herald. “That afternoon both dogs started to vomit.”

He took the 18-month old dogs, Mila and Sunny, to the vet and, while Sunny made a full recovery, Mila could not be saved and died three days before Christmas.

“The vet ran some tests and they realised my dog went into liver failure,” he said.

“They tested and realised she had been poisoned, but unfortunately her liver was damaged too much by then.

“The vet told me she was having seizures; her brain was affected by the poison. They told me she had to be put down.”

Once the report was received by Centennial Parklands management, rangers undertook a thorough inspection of Queens Park and thankfully found no evidence of objects of concern, but asked that local dog owners remain vigilant.

A spokesperson for the Parklands told The Beast that staff were saddened to hear the report, but wanted to ensure park visitors were aware that there is a ranger on call 24/7 to deal with any public health and safety matters.

“The fastest way to get a response is by calling our Ranger Assistance Service on 0412 718 611. We urge visitors for urgent matters not to rely solely on email or social media to communicate with the Parklands,” the spokesperson said. “Of course, for any serious injuries or criminal activities, visitors should always phone 000 in the first instance.”

In such a densely populated area, run-ins between those who own dogs and those who do not are not uncommon. In the past The Beast has reported on a number of dog-related issues including the improper disposal of dog waste, noise from barking dogs, and the positioning and prevalence (or lack thereof) of off-leash areas.

While a minority of dog owners at times tarnish the reputation of others, there is never an excuse for this sort of cruelty. The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 sets out a maximum penalty of a fine of up to $22,000 or two years’ imprisonment, or both, in the case of an individual.

One dog owner, who preferred to remain anonymous, did her best to sum up the situation. “As a dog owner, I understand why some people get frustrated,” she said. “There is nothing worse than standing in a pile of dog poo or being kept up all night by the sound of relentless barking. But if you’re the sort of person who would put a poisoned bait out in a public park, you really need to seek some professional help, immediately.”