SA sees growing trend of robbers poisoning pets before striking
Cape Town – More and more animals are being poisoned with illegally obtained poisons in South Africa, says the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA).
“Death by poisoning is arguably the most cruel and inhumane way to kill an animal. Aldicarb (alternatively known as two-step or Temik) is most commonly used to poison dogs.
“Criminals often use these illegal poisons to maliciously kill dogs before committing another crime, such as breaking and entering or motor vehicle theft.
“Our wildlife does not escape unharmed either and many fall victim to mass poisonings as a result of poison-laced bait,” the NSPCA said.
It said that Aldicarb is identified by small black grains that look like poppy seeds and should only be handled with gloves if spotted.
“A poisoned dog will start convulsing and will look as if worms are crawling on the body. The dog will vomit, drool and pupils may change size.
“Unfortunately, there is no antidote for Aldicarb and it is a fast-acting poison, but if you can get your companion to a veterinarian in time, they may be able to neutralise the poison. Time is of the essence.”
The Cape of Good Hope SPCA said it received a fair amount of cases of animals being poisoned, adding that it fluctuates throughout the year.
SPCA spokesperson Tara McGovern said the poisons were easy to come by and the organisations was thinking there should be stricter regulations around them.
“It is easy for people to buy illegal poisons or just to buy any rat poison from the shop.
“Many people don’t know that it is illegal to use a poison registered for use on a specific animal, such as a rodent or insect, on any other animal,” McGovern said.
She said animals suffered immensely when they were poisoned.
“A rodent can take up to five days to die. But for other animals, it would depend on the type of poison ingested and the amount.
“Dogs may die within 20 minutes. We believe that animals are sentient and able to feel pain and suffering.”
McGovern said pet owners should be made aware as it could happen to anyone.
“Be vigilant by looking for pieces of food that may be seen lying around the yard or placed on walls or even in your next door neighbour’s yard.
“Criminals also throw poisoned pieces of food over walls before they break in,” she said
“Immediate treatment may include: administering activated charcoal to slow absorption.
“Administering a laxative. Keep animal warm with a light blanket. Administer a drug, such as Atropine, to reverse the damage caused by the poison and out animal on a drip.
“Your animal may need to stay at the vet’s for a day or two for observation depending on severity. Ask the vet to do a toxicology test and supply a veterinary report that can be used to open a case.
“Photographic evidence and any other evidence, such as the pieces of food or poison, need also to be collected and handed in as evidence,” McGovern said.