Dog owners heartbroken as four pets on the same road die of suspected poisoning

Dog owners have been left heartbroken after four pets died of suspected poisoning on the same road within days of each other.

The rural community Sugarloaf near Airlie Beach in the Whitsunday Islands in Australia has been rocked by the deaths of the animals – two dogs and two goats – believed to be from poisoning of the chemical compound 1080

Pet owners have now been left on high alert after nine others were killed from confirmed or suspected 1080 baiting in other parts of Queensland in recent weeks.

They include two dogs owned by farmer Greg Jackson was forced to bury them after they ate poisoned bait.

Local resident Darren Foster and his family are still grieving the loss of their red cattle cross Kobi in late August.

He claims another dog and two goats from nearby properties died in the same five-day period and that two vets were '95% positive' they were caused by 1080 poisoning.

Mr Foster said: "My wife is absolutely distraught. I would never wish it on anybody and to be honest I don't think I would even wish it on pest animals after watching the way Kobi died.

"Spend the time and money and go and shoot (pest animals) if you need to remove them, don't use poisoning.

"This is no way for an animal to die."

Vets were also unable to save Mitzy, a neighbour's bull terrier greyhound cross.

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The owner, who was not named, said: "I grabbed her and she started fitting again in my arms. I took her in and as soon as I laid her down on the table she just went as stiff as a board."

Mr Foster also claimed three other dogs in the area also died of suspected poisoning in the past 18 months.

Health officials have collected samples of frozen vomit from the two dogs who recently died in Sugarloaf.

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A spokeswoman for Whitsunday Regional Council said: "Council understands that the Queensland Public Health unit in Mackay are conducting the investigation.

"Whitsunday Regional Council has not conducted any coordinated baiting in the Sugarloaf area."

The chemical compound 1080 is used for poisoning wild dogs and other predators, coming in the form of a white powder.

It is added to fresh or dry animal baits and in Australia is only available to those who are authorised to use it.

After digestion, most dogs and foxes will die in up to two hours through an attack on the central nervous system, leading to unconsciousness.

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