Council offers to pay vet costs

By Corey Charlton

Possum kill traps and poisons to be placed in Park Island will be in areas where dogs are legally allowed to roam free, but the regional council is adamant the risk to pets remains minimal.

If one is poisoned, the council will pay the veterinarian bill.

The bait stations will be loaded with brodifacoum, an anticoagulant toxin designed to slow-kill rodents and possums but the quantities are so small it would not kill a pet, council staff say.

Residents who use Park Island to exercise their pets have raised concerns about the potential for poisons to be inadvertently consumed by pets, and of the risk to children and other park users.

The latest stage of the Hawke's Bay Urban Biodiversity Strategy will enact possum control over the Poraiti area, with a variety of methods at the contractor's disposal such as kill traps and bait stations loaded with pellet poison. Much of the strategy is covering private property in Poraiti but it extends to Park Island which is the responsibility of Napier City Council.

Hawke's Bay Regional Council biosecurity advisory officer Dean Roughton said the regional council had not had any issues with their previous control programmes in Napier Hill and Havelock North, but if a pet did ingest the poison it was willing to pay for any veterinarian bills.

"We're using methods that have low toxicity or a low ability to cause any harm to pets in particular," he said. "There just wouldn't be enough bait in Park Island to kill one dog."

If a pet did become unwell from accidentally ingesting the poison, on the advice of the veterinarian, the regional council would foot the bill.

"The council is prepared to put its money where its mouth is and say 'yes, we'll pay that bill'," Mr Roughton said.

A woman found walking her dog at Park Island yesterday, who declined to be named, questioned possum control in the park.

"I wonder if it's necessary? Is there a need for it? What is behind their reasoning for it?

"When it's on private land and the owners can actually monitor it and that's good.

"My first response is no, put it on private land around here and maybe up where the cemetery is. It would be good to have a clearer picture of how they plan to do it and monitor it."

"Certainly if dogs eat it, it causes an effect. If there are dead possums about and they eat then it they go wandering around, they could be dead anywhere, so there is a question mark as to whether it is suitable in a public place."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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