Dog owners concerned for safety of their pets

Hillsborough Forest Park
Hillsborough Forest Park

Local pet owners have been warned to be wary following claims on social media that a dog died after eating rat poison while being walked at Hillsborough Forest Park.

A post on Facebook last month claimed that a woman’s two-year-old dog had passed away after apparently ingesting rat poison while on a walk at the local beauty spot.

Since then, details of the alleged incident have been shared hundreds of times on social media, including by Beechgrove Doggy Fun Park, Behaviour & Training Centre and Cromlyn House Veterinary Hospital and Clinic.

The post on the Hillsborough-based animal hospital’s Facebook page stressed that they were not the vets that treated the dog concerned and that they didn’t have any further details regarding the incident or cause of death. However, the post warned all dog owners to be vigilant as a general rule.

One concerned Culcavy dog owner contacted the Ulster Star to urge pet owners to be wary if using the forest park.

“I am aware of the dangers of the blue/green algae in the lake but wasn’t aware that there was rat poison accessible to pets. I am in the park weekly with my own dog and children and am obviously very concerned,” the owner said.

The original Facebook post suggests that rat poison is being laid at sites within Hillsborough Forest Park and urges owners not to walk their dogs in the area.

Responding to the online claims, the council and Forest Service say they aren’t aware of any incidents of dogs being poisoned at Hillsborough Forest Park.

A spokesperson for Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council said: “Forest Service has advised the council that it is not aware of any issues. It has not placed any poison on this site, nor has any contractor on its behalf. Furthermore the Forest Service has advised that it has not received any complaints from the public on this matter.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs added: “Forest Service is not aware of any incident involving a poisoned dog at Hillsborough Forest.

“When the need arises, the services of a licensed pest control company is used to control vermin at litter bins beside the lake and car park areas. However, no such work has been carried out in recent months.”