Thursday, 7 Dec 2023

Dogs seriously ill after eating poisonous plant in park

Dog owners on an estate say their pets have been poisoned – after ragwort was cut down in a park but not removed.

Contractors carried out work at Merlin Park in Hucknall, Nottinghamshire, in early October but did not remove the cuttings.

Ragwort gives off a scent that warns animals not to eat it, however, this fades when the plant is cut down, despite it remaining poisonous.

A number of dogs have reportedly fallen ill after being walked on the park, which residents of the estate pay £300 a year to the Lands Trust to maintain as a service charge.

NottinghamshireLive reports people in the area saying their dogs had become severely ill, with one person on Facebook saying their dog had had a seizure in the field while another claimed to have racked up a vet’s bill of around £2,000.

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Residents claim they realised what the problem was and asked the Land Trust, which took over the park in 2019, to clear it – but were told it could not be done immediately due to the weather.

Melanie, who lives on the estate, said: “We haven’t taken our dog to the park for weeks now because we worry about him getting poorly.

“It’s frustrating and it makes us angry because we knew what the issues were going to be if this happened and discussed it with the Land Trust. They should know how to nurture and look after the land that they’re responsible for and they’ve failed grossly on that.

“It’s heartbreaking for the owners whose dogs are ill. Dogs are part of families, not just pets.”

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The Land Trust said it took the concerns of residents “extremely seriously” and said it was working with its contractor to remove the remaining ragwort.

A spokesperson added: “Ragwort is a common wildflower and can be found on site at Merlin Park as well as neighbouring fields to the Merlin Park estate.

“Along with other wild plants, ragwort poses no danger to dogs unless it is ingested, our advice remains to keep dogs on leads as much as possible and supervise them at all times.”

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