The ‘cruel’ poisoning of pet dog
The suspected poisoning of a family pet has brought new demands for a ban on the lethal herbicide paraquat.
A family are calling on locals to be vigilant and know where their animals are at all times.
Nick Carter and his family have lost their two-and-a-half-year-old dog Timmie – and they and the vets they called say it was caused by paraquat poisoning.
“This is based on advice from the vets, sudden weeds die off in our area and online research,” Carter said last night. “A lot of the symptoms matched articles and papers online and also x-rays show lung damage which is typical of it.”
The family live in the Kauare-Papa’aroa area in Rarotonga, near where farmers had been using the weedkiller.
A Ministry of Agriculture team had visited them yesterday to investigate, Carter said.
“Even walking through it and then licking their paws will affect them. It is 100 per cent fatal (no matter how large or small the dose) and the suffering of the animal is unreal, not to mention devastation in the family of the pet.”
Fiji has this month become the third Pacific Island nation in quick succession to restrict the pesticide Paraquat, following Samoa and the Marquesas Islands.
Secretary for Agriculture Temarama Anguna-Kamana said the agriculture officers visited the Carter family yesterday and she would be looking into the report today.
She said last week that there had been progress towards going organic, and many farmers were jumping on board. “Over the past 11 months, training has been conducted for both full and part-time commercial farmers and home gardeners. The Ministry will continue to provide such training and awareness to our farmers and communities while promoting organic crop production in the islands.”
Timmie was the most amazing, happy and outgoing dog, Carter said.
“Whenever we came home, he would be bouncing around the car, wagging his tail and just so full of joy and love. We have owned a lot of dogs over the years and he would be right at the very top.”
His wife rescued Timmie when he was younger, emaciated and riddled with worms and fleas. “She nursed him to health and got his weight up. So, when she came home today and he was not there to welcome her, it was heart-wrenching and incredibly painful. It is going to take a long time to get past this tragedy in our family.
“We are now left also watching our other pets extremely carefully in case they have been poisoned and it is yet to show – a cruel process praying that nothing further happens to the pets in the family.”
Carter said they had put to Timmie down or euthanase him, and they were devastated.
“We are heartbroken because we desperately miss him but also because of the suffering he endured before we had to put him down. To see him in his suffering and to see his eyes as the light faded due to the poison breaking him, was near unbearable. I do not think we will ever forget it.”
Carter said they were not alone as others have told them that their pets have suffered from the chemicals also.
“Paraquat is horrific when it affects animals and people. Within a day or two of when we think he might have been exposed, he was panting relentlessly because his lungs were shutting down and he could not get the oxygen he needed.
“Then, he could not lie down because it was harder to breath. So, he stood like a zombie panting as he tried to get breath. Then his other organs began to be affected – when his bladder gave out, we knew keeping him alive longer was cruel,” he said.
They first noticed he was slightly off colour on Saturday night they were then forced to put him down, two days later.
“It acts that fast and it is horrifically devastating. The pain of having to put a pet down is awful anyway.Knowing it was when he was so young and under such terrible circumstances is even worse.”
He said one of their neighbours had two dogs and they also died at the about the same time his dog did and in similar horrific ways.
“Their mouths were black with the destruction this stuff caused. Who knows what their other organs were like – based on how Timmie suffered, we can only imagine.”
In October last year, Charlie and Mary Tapurau Hosking lost six of their pets last year in what was believed was pesticide poisoning. They are calling on chemical pesticides and herbicides to be banned in the Cook Islands.