Mystery of 16 poisoned dogs: Pets die in agony minutes after walking in field


No go area: The 30-yard-long footpath in Cross Hills, North Yorkshire, connects a road to a field for dog walkers. It has been cordoned off until experts can work out why so many dogs have died in such a short space of time after walking there

Three dogs remain in 'grave' condition

Footpath now cordoned off

'We also cannot rule out the possibility that this is being done deliberately' say RSPCA

A popular dog walking spot has been closed after 16 pets mysteriously died or became ill.

Officials suspect the animals may have been poisoned, but no one knows if they were deliberately targeted or died by accident.

In almost all instances, the dogs collapsed and died in agony within minutes of returning from a walk along a tree-lined footpath which leads down to fields by a lake

Lucky escape: Louise Horsfall is pictured with her 14-month-old Spaniel cross, Lola, who was thought to be slightly poisoned

The death toll has reached 13 within one week and three others are seriously ill. Vets are carrying out post-mortem examinations to try to pinpoint the exact cause of death.

Slug or snail pellets, anti-freeze and toxic mushrooms are among possible causes. A pool of water nearby was initially thought to contain toxins but the experts said that had been ruled out.

Families in the village of Cross Hills, North Yorkshire, have been stunned by the loss of their pets.

Victim: Jack Russell Diesel, shown here with his owner Ken Johnson, died soon after returning from a walk along the path

Mother of two Mrs Horsforth, 46, said: ‘She started fitting after her walk on Sunday evening. At first the vet thought it was epilepsy but they took it really seriously.

‘It’s so strange that so many dogs have died, I am so lucky Lola survived. My kids would have been devastated.’

She said there was a delay in picking up the scale of the problem because half the dogs went to one local veterinary practice and the other half were taken to the other.

Warning: Police have put up notices in the area to tell dog owners of what has taken place

Now word is spreading among dog owners in the community with warnings being put out via Facebook and Twitter.

‘Dog walkers are really sociable so it is really sad to see how devastated some people are after their pets have died,’ she said.

RSPCA animal welfare officer Sally Ramsden said: ‘We are extremely concerned about this situation.

'People are taking their dogs out along this footpath and within 20 minutes the dogs are suffering convulsions and dying. We don’t know what could be causing this but we strongly suspect that the dogs may have been poisoned.

source: dailymail