Resident warns neighbours about deadly pest control measures

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A puppy in the Cardinal Creek area is lucky to be alive after nibbling on some rat poison left near a public east-end trail.

Springridge resident Monica Belanger was walking her six-month-old lab, Daytona, on leash along the trail behind Caprihani Way when the puppy picked something up from the ground. “She’s a puppy so she eats everything,” Belanger said. “If I see what’s in her mouth I grab it out. Usually it’s only a stick.”

But this time Daytona chomped down on something that isn’t normally found along the trail. “When I grabbed it out I saw right away it was… Warfarin,” Belanger recounted, adding she then saw blue pellets scattered along the edge of the pathway next to a residential garden gate.

Daytona had apparently eaten rat poison. “I had her at the vet’s within 20 minutes,” Belanger said.

The veterinarian knew right away what they were dealing with because they had the wrapper. Belanger said they induced vomiting and Daytona threw up some pellet pieces, meaning she’d definitely ingested the poison.

The young lab stayed at the vet for three hours under observation and, once her stomach settled, she was given charcoal to soak up any remaining poison, Belanger indicated.

In the end, Daytona survived. Other animals in the community, however, have not been so lucky when it comes to the improper use of poisonous pest control measures.

On July 28, 2008, Fallingbrook resident Joelle Lefebvre watched her 11-year-old cocker spaniel Belle suffer and die from what was likely the horrible effects of a long-acting anti-coagulant rodenticide.

Although toxicology tests and an autopsy were never performed, the veterinarian who cared for the dog said the symptoms Belle exhibited were consistent with a new generation of rat poison. “We have a few cases every year and the clinical signs are very characteristic,” said Dr. Richard Wojclechowski after the incident. “The poison is very, very vicious.”

He explained the poisons cause anemia, a loss of platelets and massive bleeding leading eventually to death.

Belanger, meanwhile, put notices up around her neighbourhood warning residents to watch out for the poison. She said she’s concerned anyone, including children, could eat the pellets. “The little blue pellets look like candy,” Belanger said.

Under Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency, rodenticides are required to be put in locked box stations so children and other animals are not put at risk. “People have to realize if they put out poison it affects a lot of things,” said Orléans Coun. Bob Monette, who received a call from Belanger after her dog ate the poison. “The last thing I want to see is this happen again.”

Monette said both city bylaw officials and the police were contacted about the incident.

Organizations: Pest Management Regulatory Agency

Geographic location: Canada

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