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Pet owners urged to be vigilant after suspected rat poison attack

Cat Millie made a lucky escape after picking up chicken laced with rat poison. Photo: Westway Vets

North East pet owners are being warned to be extra vigilant after a suspected deliberate attempt to poison animals.

Millie, a nine-year-old cat, carried a cooked chicken breast through the cat flap of her home in Chester-le-Street and owners Sarah and Stuart Douglas were horrified to discover it was laced with rat poison.

Not knowing if her pet had eaten any of the chicken, Sarah called a vet and was advised to take her into their hospital.

I thought at first she had stolen someone’s Sunday lunch, but then I noticed the chicken breast was tied up with green string, which seemed odd.

I could see some blue/green crystals in the middle of the chicken and my husband immediately identified the rat poison.

– Sarah Douglas
The chicken laced with rat poison which cat Millie found in Chester-le-Street Credit: Westway Vets

Although Millie was not showing any signs of having been poisoned, the vet gave her blood tests and induced vomiting as a precaution.

The Douglas family have reported the case to the police, and Westway Vets in Newcastle is now appealing to cat and dog owners to keep a close watch over their pets following the scare.

We had a terrible day as we were so worried, but it doesn’t look as if she has eaten any of the chicken.

I think it was too big for her to eat, but she could have got it on her paws and licked it off or a dog could have grabbed it and wolfed it down.

I’m absolutely sickened that someone would do this because it looks like a deliberate attempt to poison a pet, rather than solve a rodent problem.

I alerted people about our experience on Facebook and someone replied to say that they had also found chicken with rat poison inside. I’ve report the case to the police and RSPCA.

Millie had a really lucky escape, but another pet might not be so fortunate.

– Sarah Douglas

Anyone who thinks their pet may have eaten rat poison should contact their vet immediately.

Symptoms your pet has eaten rat poison can include vomiting, diarrhoea, coughing or respiratory difficulties, seizures or muscle tremors, lethargy and blood in urine or faeces.

Millie, owner Sarah Douglas and Westway Vets student veterinary nurse Gillian Holmes. Credit: Westway Vets

Vet Abbey Taylor said:

This was a worrying incident for the Douglas family, but luckily Millie didn’t show any signs of having eaten the rat poison, but it could have been a tragic case.

This is irresponsible use of rat poison as cats, dogs or wildlife could be indiscriminately affected. Secure bait boxes should be used. If trying to deter cats from entering the garden, there are water or noise producing gadgets that will keep cats away.

– Vet Abbey Taylor, Westway Vets