Owners advised to muzzle pets as dogs die from poisoned meat
A SPATE of dog poisonings on a popular Happy Valley walk during Lunar New Year has affected more than 10 animals and killed at least two, according to owners and vets.
Children in a nearby playground are also at risk, say vets, who have urged anyone with information to contact Happy Valley police.
Officers are investigating complaints from two dog owners, one of whose animals died in her arms within about 30 minutes of eating tainted meat.
Vets from the RSPCA and the Hong Kong Vet Centre are urging people to muzzle their pets while out walking.
They say owners should avoid the route where all the poisonings occurred - the Black's Link trail from Wong Nai Chung Gap Road over the hills to Aberdeen Country Park.
Any dog showing distress should be taken to a vet quickly as drugs have to be administered straight away.
Catriona Simpson, of Shiu Fai Terrace, just below Bowen Path, was walking her two one-year-old mongrels - named Homer and Bart after The Simpsons - along the route on Wednesday evening. She stopped Homer chewing on some meat he found near the start of the trail, next to a children's playground.
'Within 20 minutes he was frothing at the mouth and shaking,' she said. 'Then he collapsed and a gentleman I met said he might have been poisoned as it had happened before.
'I took him to the RSPCA but he was dead when I got through the vet's door.
'It was horrible. Somebody is laying down this poisoned meat, and there are so many young children who could put their fingers in it.' RSPCA vet Dr Katriona Bradley said she had treated three other dogs - a Cocker Spaniel and two Labradors - on Wednesday. One of them had died.
Dr Bradley urged parents to watch their children.
She said the meat looked 'pretty tasty'.
Dr Andrew Baker, of the Vet Centre, had treated 'seven or eight' animals since last Sunday, the last one yesterday.
Wild animals would also die if they took the baits, he said. 'It's a horrendous death and very acute,' the vet said.
'This was obviously 100-per-cent malicious. They were all from Black's Link and were vomiting Chinese sausage and chicken wings.' A Happy Valley police station officer said a sample had been sent for chemical analysis.
Both Dr Baker and Dr Bradley said the poison was purple powder thought to be an organophosphate insecticide.
Dr Baker said the attack bore the hallmarks of previous poisonings along Bowen Road.
'It used to happen every three months. It happened at Christmas 1993 along Bowen Road and I think it's happened along Black's Link in the past,' he said.
'It's the same bait in a similar environment.
'We are recommending all our clients to walk their dogs with a muzzle or, better still, walk on a different patch - but who's to say where [the poisoner] is going to poison next?'