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Mystery illness baffles vets

WORRIED DOG owners and experts remain in the dark over risks to their animals in two country parks after a spate of deaths and mystery illnesses in North East Lincolnshire.

In the last month, four dogs died after going for walks in Cleethorpes Country Park. Two were found to have eaten rat poison, a third death was being treated as ‘suspicious’, while the fourth was found to have died from natural causes.

Last week it emerged dogs walked in Jubilee Park in nearby Humberston had also been struck down with mystery illnesses, one seriously.

The afflicted dog, a black Labrador, suffered rapid weight loss, vomiting and ended up on a drip under the observation of a vet. His owner says he is still concerned about him, even though the dog has now been discharged.

The local authority has alerted the Department for the Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (Defra), which in turn ordered a wildlife investigation between DEFRA and the authority.

But despite a joint investigation, the dogs' sudden ill health could not be explained. The council has decided there is no link between the deaths in Cleethorpes Country Park and the illnesses in Jubilee Park.

Tony Neul, the council's neighbourhood improvement manager, said: ‘Following a further reported incident last weekend at Jubilee Park, the council is now in dialogue with the team at Defra.

‘This team investigates deaths of animals and wildlife in the UK if there is evidence to suggest that they may have been poisoned or put at risk by pesticides.

‘Whilst the council has searched both Cleethorpes Country Park and Jubilee Park in Humberston, no evidence has been found which would assist the team in their investigations.

‘The team has spoken to the vets who attended to all the dogs involved and it appears that the symptoms presented by the dogs who have fallen ill near Jubilee Park are different to those at Cleethorpes Country Park.

‘However, both the council and the investigation team are keeping an open mind and would urge the public to report any similar incidents or evidence which might help the investigation. Dog owners are advised to be vigilant.’

The council said nothing had been found to link the cases and urged owners to keep their pets on leads.