Saturday, April 13, 2024

Dogs poisoned at Macleans park

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A devastated dog owner is warning others to be careful after her dogs were poisoned at Eastern Beach’s Macleans Park.

Shirley McNaught rushed her two labradors to Buckland’s Beach Vet Clinic last Tuesday afternoon just hours after they went for a walk at Macleans Park.

Shirley McNaught with her two dogs that were poisoned at Macleans Park last week.Times Photo Wayne Martin.

McNaught says her 3-year-old black lab Archie started vomiting less than two hours after going for a swim in one of the streams at the park.

He deteriorated quickly suffering from seizures, vomiting and tremors.

McNaught’s other dog Hine suffered similar symptoms after being caught eating Archie’s vomit.

The dogs were placed on a drip and administered medication in an effort to save their lives.

While Archie improved, Hine was rushed to Manukau After Hours Vet Clinic (MAHVC) to be monitored overnight.

The dogs are now home safely.

The vet bill was almost $2000, which the pensioner says has put a huge strain on her financially.

McNaught says she is very disappointed with Auckland Council’s slow action following the incident.

“When the vets were trying to get information on any bait that had been laid or spraying that had been done, it took two hours to get a response back from council. My dogs could have easily died in the meantime,” she says.

“I don’t think the council are taking this seriously. The council aren’t monitoring what’s going on in our parks. They pass them off to contractors, but who’s actually checking that the parks are safe?”

Niki Hotter, a staff member at MAHVC, says Hine was one of three dogs that have presented at the clinic with these symptoms in the last few weeks after being walked in Macleans Park.

Hotter says all three dogs developed tremors and life-threatening seizures only hours after walking in the park near the flying fox.

The vets treating the dogs suspect blue-green algae toxicity is the cause of the poisoning.

MAHVC has been in contact with council which confirmed no bait had been laid down in recent months and no spraying had been done recently.

Local resident Vicky Williamson said on Monday she saw a sign warning dog owners about the poisonings near the flying fox.

She said that when she contacted Auckland Council about the notice she was told “it would be removed as it didn’t have approval to be posted on council property.

“I said then I was notifying council that there is a problem with dogs being poisoned and asked if she would please let the notice remain.  I was told contractors would be there soon and they would be removing the notice,” she says.

Simon Randall, the council’s acting head of operational management and maintenance says Watercare was sent to investigate.

“They have been to the site and can confirm there are no issues or overflows from the wastewater network. They have also sampled the water and confirm there is no indication of wastewater present in the waterway,” he says.

“There is a large residential catchment above the stream so there is always a risk that pollution may be tipped from a private drain. This could be a one-off.”

Randall says blue-green algae, which can affect people, livestock and pets that swim in and drink from algae-contaminated water, is unlikely at this time of year given the weather conditions.

However on Monday a specialist from council’s Healthy Waters team looked for potential algal blooms.

Results from the lab have not yet been released to the Times.

“The council would not be proactive with warnings at this stage until we knew what we were dealing with, if anything. In the meantime, we urge dog owners to report any illnesses to their vet,” he says.


The signs of toxicity are possible neuro toxin clinical signs:

  • Hyper salivation (dribbling)
  • Vomiting
  • Shaking / trembling or seizuring
  • Lethargy

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