Council mystified after dog eats rat bait on beach

By Doug Laing

Napier City Council staff are mystified as to how a dog being walked on a small beach at Ahuriri managed to chomp on bait set to contain a rat problem in the area.

Council regulatory services manager Mike Webster said baits had been set by council staff at Sandy Beach in tight crevices and holes in the rocks above the high water line, with care taken to ensure they couldn't be reached by children or pets.

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But it didn't stop 7-year-old Napier jack russell-foxy-cross Jess, which was interrupted nibbling at a tablet near the water's edge mid-morning on Anzac Day, much to the concern of owners Sarah and Phil Gale who had to take the dog to a vet.

The dog appears to have suffered no ill-effects, but is on a two-week course of treatment.

With blood tests to take into account, Mrs Gale expects a bill of around $150, although she said: "My main concern is, what if a child had gotten it?"

Annoyed there were no signs warning the bait had been laid in the area, Mrs Gale issued her own warning in writing to Hawke's Bay Today.

"Watch out for greeny, bluey, grainy tablets," she said. "They are crumbly and not treats for dogs or children."

Mr Webster said that because of the care taken in placing the bait, extra signage was not seen as necessary, although there were signs warning that dogs could only be in the areas if they were on leashes.

It wasn't known how the tablet had come to be at the water's edge, or even if it was one that had been set by the council staff.

The laying of the bait is done one or two times a year as part of ongoing control of rodent numbers, which is an issue in most cities.

He said that on the beaches keeping dogs on leads was one way of limiting the risks, but at the wider level there remained the issue of making sure scraps of food were not left around to attract the rats.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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