Poisoner doomed to failure

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 March, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 March, 1997, 12:00am

Honestly, we weren't going to write about dog-poisoning. It just seemed so tasteless, so callous. And yet, and yet . . . how could we resist? How could any columnist resist? Like a poor helpless animal to tempting bait, we were drawn to the subject.

OK. We know what you're thinking. We should be muzzled. Like the Governor's poor Norfolk Terriers and the other dogs whose owners rightly fear for their safety. But, for the next three and a half months at least, that is not the Hong Kong way. Dogs must be saved from their own baser instincts. We writers have a duty to nibble at whatever is offered and hang the consequences. If we are muzzled, Hong Kong will be the poorer for it.

But at least you can rest assured we are not going to do anything really wicked like come up with a defence of the poisoner.

We are not going to relate how someone who used to work for this newspaper rang up all the way from Australia to suggest that maybe the Chinese had done it to get back at Chris Patten. You will never read in this column about the cruel jokes that circulated around the newsroom about how dog was off the menu at the dai pai dong on the corner because the restaurateur was serving chicken wings direct to the public.

No! The fact is we have met at least two of the near victims. We have been ushered into the presence of the gubernatorial dog Whisky on a couple of solemn occasions. He should be allowed to serve out his term in dignity. With luck he may even be able to retire to France in July and write his autobiography.

And we have also been introduced to Elliott. Elliott, beloved family member of European Union representative Etienne Reuter, is no mere terrier like Whisky. He is a rare and valued Madagascan Coton de Telear. Yet not even he was spared the pain and terror of a Bowen Road poisoning.

It is only because the vet interrupted his Christmas lunch to save him that Elliott survived. And even then it meant days in intensive care and injections with two different antidotes. Now Elliott never leaves the Reuter home except on a leash.

And what's more he's got a message for other dogs.

'Don't think you're safe once you're off Bowen Road.' Elliott told Week Ending in an interview. 'There are poisoners on Lamma Island and poisoners in Black's Link. Nowhere's safe. You have been warned.' Now we would not want you to go away with the idea that Week Ending has changed his ways and has suddenly gone all soft and politically correct and animal loving.

We are still least likely to say 'Hey, dogs are people too!' But the sick individual who thinks poisoning is the way to get revenge on mutts for fouling his jogging path, if that is his motive, should just remember that not even Disney's Dalmatian-hating Cruella de Vil could get her evil way against the poor cuddly little things.

Elliott says you will never win.

Week Ending says 'Hear! Hear!'.