• Tue
  • Sep 23, 2014
  • Updated: 1:50am
NewsHong Kong

Monty and Coffee become latest victims of Lamma Island dog poisoner

Police analysing substance after pets die days after becoming sick

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 April, 2014, 11:04am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 30 April, 2014, 11:08am

After 17 years as a resident on Lamma Island, John Wedderburn says he is fed up with the never-ending spate of dog poisonings. Next year, he will leave the island – and the city – for good.

The final straw was the death of his own 12-year-old dog, Coffee, who became one of two beloved pets to die after eating food laced with weedkiller over the Easter holiday.

“[The poisonings] have been going on Lamma for years. I’ve gone through this with friends so many times and I have always felt anger,” Wedderburn told the South China Morning Post.

“But this time, the fact that it has actually happened to me has saddened me more.”

Dog owners on the island say there have been over 100 canine deaths as a result of poisonings in the last decade.

Wedderburn, 73, a retired doctor and former vice-president of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, says most of the poisoned dogs had responsible and caring owners and were not feral dogs, which he believes are the culprit's intended targets.

He plans to leave the city, which he has called home for four decades, next year.

“Hong Kong is just not a good place for dogs. This is not what I wanted when I moved here,” he said.

He says “dog-hating” on the island is getting worse and hopes to see the poisoner arrested and punished.

Coffee, a brown mongrel born and bred on Lamma and adopted by Wedderburn in 2008, was described by his owner as a “gentle, loving dog, friendly to all, never any trouble and a great companion”.

Trey Menefee of the Lamma Dog Owners concern group said the bait used was likely fish laced with paraquat – a powerful and highly-toxic weedkiller.

“They’re clever. Paraquat is very hard to track and disappears in digestive systems very quickly,” he said.

Karen Mead’s 11-year-old terrier crossbreed Monty was also poisoned the same day as Coffee.

“Monty was on the lead when he ate the bait - he had a very, very small amount, and it was hidden in the vegetation which made it hard to see that he had eaten something,” Mead said. “He was smart and affectionate and certainly didn’t deserve to suffer.”

She added: “Lamma is a lovely place to have a dog but until the poisoner is caught, leads and muzzles are essential.”

Reports have surfaced on the island that police have identified at least one suspect and will make an arrest once poisoning is proven. A police spokesman would not confirm nor comment on the investigation.

Dog owners on the island say there have been more than 100 canine deaths as a result of poisonings in the last decade.

Similar dog poisonings have been reported elsewhere in the city - most notoriously on Bowen Road in Mid-Levels.

"The case has been classified as 'suspected dog poisoning' and investigations by the Cheung Chau division are under way," a police spokesman said.

The spokesman said officers received six reports of poisoning and five of poisoned bait being discovered on Lamma in 2012 and 2013, of which all but three were still under investigation. No arrests had been made.

A team had been assigned to investigate the reports, he said, and poisoning "black spots" were being patrolled.

Police have advised dog owners to keep their animals on a leash and to use a basket muzzle when in affected areas to stop pets from eating potentially poisoned food.

Cruelty to animals carries a maximum sentence of three years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to HK$200,000.


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This article is now closed to comments

I asked my dog how he felt, he said "rough"
That's funny
There may well be many truly caring dog owners but sadly there are far too many selfish dog owners.
It is actually against the law to let your dog roam the streets without its owner or carer yet living on peng chau island I see far too many COLLARED dogs roaming around. The feral dogs on the island are scared and timid of people but these roaming collared dogs can be quite aggressive and one can say they attitude. Our paths are covered in dog poo. I have young children and dare not let them ever spend time out on their own due to worrying a bunch of collared dogs will attack maim or kill them. I sick to the back teeth of these selfish ignorant dog owners who let their dogs roam our streets. I really am appalled at any animal must suffer such a terrible fate as slow poisoning but let's get to the root of all this.
As a large ignorant minority of uncaring selfish dog owners allow their dogs to roam then this upsets a lot of people
Plus so many people get dogs then dump them on the islands
And what about how we suffer with neighbors dogs barking incessantly all hours of the day.
This is the other side of the story and hope you dog owners can understand how your animals cause so much distress to family's and community's in islands.
This is the root of the problem
Alas some extreme person will take to this action of poisoning
If only dog owners understood the damage your dogs do our environment. Hygiene safety and noise
Sad isn't it they dont
Oh, shut up. Resorting to murder as a solution?
Such an ignorant response. I was just explaining coherently the other side of the coin.
If you bothered to use your pea sized brain you would have read I was appalled by this poisoning.
I rest my case
"Investigations by Cheung Chau division are underway". Well that's all right then; maybe they can liaise with their HK island buddies who failed over many years to do nothing about the Bowen Rd dog poisoner. And as for Shadow and the rest of her **** hating buddies, shame on you.
You might look at the issue from the other side, too. I have to step over at least 5 piles of poo on my way home, and it's dark and I don't always carry a flashlight. You imagine what happens. I don't give a damn most of the time, except a few times when I threw the **** near my door back to the dog owner's balcony, but I can easily see why some residents less tolerant of it might use poison.
And it works, too. After each poisoning people start muzzling their dogs and watching them carefully, never leaving them out alone. For a week or two. And then the circle of life goes on: **** => poisoning => villagers with torches and pitchforks => SCMP article => brief pause => and the cycle restarts.
with that logic I should be able to poison my neighbours kids as well since they run around screaming in the hallways and kick their football at mine and the other neighbours doors. I should then also be allowed to poison all the construction workers near my area who repeatedly throw their garbage into the bushes even though there are multiple trash cans around. If we started poisoning every nuisance HK would have a much smaller population within a week.
Now there's an idea!




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