An eight-year-old Sheltie-Cavalier dog died on 16 November, possibly due to consuming a piece of bread which was spiked with a tranquilizer and intended for a pigeon culling exercise.
Ms Natasha Wilkins, the owner of the dog, told The Straits Times that the incident happened while she was walking her dog Ludo along Lorong Lew Lian at about 6.30am. She noted that although there was a notice put up by the town council on the notice board at Block 8, along Lorong Lew Lian, she has not been aware of it.
While they were walking together, Ludo was said to have eaten a piece of bread. Before Ms Wilkins was able stop her dog, it ate the piece of bread and only within 15 minutes, it started to shake, stretch and foam at the mouth.
Ms Wilkins then took her dog to a veterinarian, Ms Dawn Own, who said that the dog’s mouth was filled with a white, viscous liquid, adding, “We suspect it was due to some sort of toxin, though we can’t confirm what type.”
Ms Wilkins then contacted Marina Parade Town Council the next day, who told her that a pest buster, Clean Solutions, which was contracted by the town council, had used spiked bread to cull pigeons on 15 November in the same area where she walked her dog.
Ms Wilkins is a British national and a Singapore Permanent Resident. She claimed that she was initially told by MPTC that it could not comment directly on the case since there was no official autopsy report linking Ludo’s death to the pigeon culling.
An MPTC spokesman told ST, “We have since reached out to her and clarified that there may be other factors that could have led to the unfortunate incident. We are investigating this matter with her, together with our pest control operator.”
In line with Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) guidelines, in the MPTC culling exercise, bread spiked with an anaesthetic compound called alpha-chloralose was given to pigeons, so the birds were tranquilised before being taken away.
However, the pest buster missed one important thing, as it did not take away the leftover bread.
Similar incident occurred in 2013, involving the same company, in which a dog died after eating poisoned bread left out for pigeons by Clean Solutions, which was engaged by West Coast Town Council.
The firm was later given a warning.
According to AVA, property management staff, including town councils, should be present to supervise pest control personnel during “pigeon management operations” and are also encouraged to put up notices in common areas prior to the start of pigeon control operations.
For pets owners who unfortunately meet up with circumstances such as which Ludo died from, an autopsy should be carried out by AVA so as to ascertain the cause of death so that responsible entities cannot claim the cause of the death is inconclusive.