By Arthi Sanpath

When little Harley went to the beach for a walk last week, little did he know that soon after he would be lying on an operating table with doctors trying to remove a large fish hook from his stomach.

His concerned owner is now calling on Durban fishermen to stop throwing their used tackle on the beach, as it is a danger to pets and small children.

La Lucia resident Di Straw, an administration manager for a teacher training organisation, explained that she took her pet dog Harley for a walk at Umhlanga Beach last Friday.

"We went for our usual walk at the beach, but after a while I noticed a piece of yellow line hanging from his mouth."

Harley, a 15-month-old English Springer Spaniel, swallowed a piece of old bait left on the shore, including an almost four centimetre-long fishing hook.

A worried Straw had then rushed him to a nearby veterinarian, fearing he would suffer internal injuries.

An X-ray revealed that the hook had by then lodged itself in Harley's intestines, but had fortunately not caused any major damage.

Harley was kept at the clinic over the weekend to recover from his surgery, at a cost of more than R3 000.

"The entire situation could easily have been averted if the local fishermen would be more considerate of other beach users," Straw said.

Harley is now recovering at home, but Straw said even if a few fishermen became aware of the problem that is caused by their old bait and tackle, then Harley's pain would not have been for nothing.