As warm weather starts to bring pests from rats to slugs into gardens, residents are urgently being advised to be cautious about setting out poisons. Huge problems occur when household pets such as cats and dogs eat a dead animal that has been infected with poison.
One resident in Aldwinkle reported finding several dead mice and wild birds due to poisoning, and raised concerns about the danger to domestic pets. “This type of incorrect and irresponsible use of poison, baiting food, is a reportable offence in breach of the Animal Welfare Act. This is because the poison used has crossed to kill another species feeding on the poisoned bait, namely wild birds. In addition, it threatens the health of other species, such as dogs and the cats,” he said.
It is important to note that pest control is best carried out by licensed and trained professionals. The Barn Owl Trust states that “sustainable control can only be achieved by reducing the rodent carrying capacity of the environment”. This includes removing food and cleaning areas where rats might build nests, or using natural barriers to deter slugs. They advise that “poisons should only be used as a very last resort”.
The Pet Health Network has also flagged the dangers of poisons to dogs and cats. A type of mouse poison commonly used often affects a dog’s ability to clot properly. Symptoms can include lethargy and vomiting.
The government warns that residents can be fined or imprisoned if they cause unnecessary harm to any animal. Local councils do not have enforcement responsibilities, but residents can call the Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme if there is a suspician that an animal has been poisoned.
Assistance for pet owners who suspect their pet has been poisoned can be found from Oundle & Thrapston Veterinary Surgery.