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South Africa: Up to 1000 dogs poisoned per week

As many as 1 000 dogs are poisoned in South Africa every week, says Dr Gerhard Verdoorn, director at the country's Griffon Poison Information Centre.

Published: August 9, 2019, 12:38 pm

    On Wednesday evening, some 40 dogs were poisoned in the mainly white area of Florida, Roodepoort. “The poison that is used is very potent – around 97 percent of animals that are poisoned die,” Verdoorn told News24.

    “It’s believed that this pesticide is smuggled in from Zimbabwe and then sold by small local vendors in [black] townships. The substance is initially made in China and is currently illegal to be sold in South Africa.”

    Cora Bailey, director of Community Led Animal Welfare (CLAW), who also to live in Florida, confirmed Wednesday’s mass poisoning to News24.

    “This has been going on for years,” Bailey explained. “It is a massive problem. This poison is being sold everywhere.” This particular poison is being smuggled into the country from Zimbabwe, she said.

    Bailey added: “Over the last couple of months there has been an average of two dogs treated for poisoning a day and these are just the ones who make it to us alive.” Bailey told that the number of dogs being poisoned in South Africa has experienced a marked increase.

    Guard dogs are being poisoned while on duty at night and it is becoming more common as more black assailants are using poison to ensure they are not attacked by the animal while attempting to target the household the dog is guarding.

    Verdoorn said poison is usually placed in meat and fed to the dogs, because once the dogs are dead, the homes are easy targets for housebreaking or theft. “Over 30 dogs were killed in Jeffreys Bay, 42 dogs in Sandton, 30 dogs in Roodepoort and more than 40 in Port Elizabeth,” he noted.

    “The most common poison used is Aldicarb, also known as ‘two-step’. It’s called that because you take two steps and then you die.”

    Across South Africa, this substance is being used by criminals to poison dogs, because it allows robbers to access a property easily.

    Baily called on homeowners to report incidents involving the poisoning of their dogs to the police and to demand police attention on this matter.

    She suggested keeping an overnight vet or clinic’s number handy as well as activated charcoal which can be used to ease side effects of poison while on the way to the vet – although it is important to note that this is not a treatment on its own.

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