Dog poisoning highlights importance of following warning signs

Date 20 January 2016

A recent dog poisoning following an aerial pest control operation in the Taupo region highlights the importance of complying with warning signs and taking steps to protect pets. 

OSPRI North Island Programme Manager Alan Innes says, 'Unfortunately dogs are extremely susceptible to 1080 poisoning from eating baits or scavenging poisoned possums. However, dog owners have an obligation to follow warning signs and keep their animals safe and under control at all times.'

OSPRI's TBfree programme aims to eradicate bovine TB. Possums are the main carrier of bovine TB and may spread the disease to livestock in surrounding farmland if they are not effectively controlled.

Strict health and safety guidelines are followed for all pest control operations along with meeting extensive public consultation and notification processes. These include letters to residents in the operational area, newspaper notifications and warning signs.

Mr Innes says, 'For the operation in question, residents on the boundaries of the area were sent a letter about the operation in October/November last year. Signs were then put up by the pest control contractor before the operation began on 13/1/2016. It is important that the public adhere to the instructions on these warning signs which will remain in place until carcass monitoring shows that bait and carcass breakdown has been achieved which may take up to six months.'

'This particular operation was on private land so it is important that the public ensure they are allowed to access the area and also contact the land owner to see if there are any pest control activities in the area. Because it is private land there are no requirements to clear walkways.'

As well as meeting all operational notification requirements, GPS reports from the contractor show that the operation was flown within the consented boundaries.

OSPRI is strongly committed to working with industry partners, stakeholder and community groups to enhance the delivery of our work and raise awareness of our activities. As part of this we annually allocate approximately $2.5 million to research and development projects, $1 million to stakeholder and community engagement activities and around $500,000 to operational signage and notifications.

OSPRI helps protect and enhance the reputation of New Zealand's primary industries. It currently runs the NAIT and TBfree programmes.

Important tips for keeping your dog safe:

  • Keep dogs under supervision at all times – don't allow them to roam, especially in bush areas.
  • If you must walk your dog in or near the operational area, keep it on a leash, well-fed and hydrated.
  • Don't let dogs scavenge carcasses on parkland or on any land adjacent to the park, until the all-clear is given. This will be some months after the operation.
  • Observe signage and caution periods.
  • If you suspect your dog has 1080 poisoning, act immediately by inducing vomiting and taking your dog to the vet.
  • There is no antidote for 1080, but dogs can be saved if early and appropriate action is taken.
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