FURRY FRIEND: Marshall the black lab and owner Bianca Martin.
FURRY FRIEND: Marshall the black lab and owner Bianca Martin. Contributed

Family puppy poisoned in cruel act

A SOUTH Mackay family's young black lab is lucky to be alive after being baited with poison in his own backyard.

Owner Bianca Martin was away in Melbourne for the weekend when she received a worried message from her partner D'Arcy about their one year old puppy.

He said their labrador Marshall had been acting strange, not eating his food and at one point was totally unable to get up on his legs.

After quickly rushing him to the vets, and many tests later, he was informed that the dog had been baited and didn't have a good chance of making it through the night.

"The vet said immediately, 'it's not worms, ticks or anything like that', and by process of elimination the only plausible thing left, with the signs he was showing, was that he had been baited," Ms Martin said.

"He was disorientated, couldn't hold himself up, kept falling on his face because his legs wouldn't work, she said these are all the signs he's been poisoned.

"They just said they would have to keep him in, keep up his fluids and have him on antibiotics and hope that will be enough."

The couple were told Marshal's prognosis wasn't good, and often dogs his size with such signs didn't always make it, so they were preparing themselves for the worst.

However, visiting the vet surgery the next day, Marshall had somehow managed to show small signs of improvement.

"I hadn't seen him on the first day he went in and I got to the vet and thought he looked just awful, on his deathbed, and the vet was like 'look how much better he's looking'," Ms Martin said.

"I thought wow he must have been pretty terrible if that was him improved, after that they said he still had to stay a bit longer, as he wasn't eating but had shown some good signs.

"By Tuesday morning they had managed to get him walking again and finally he scoffed down his food so he was right to come home."


Marshall in a bad way at the vets after being baited in his South Mackay home.
Marshall in a bad way at the vets after being baited in his South Mackay home. Contributed

The couple said Marshall is still slowly getting back to his normal self, still a bit weak and looking underweight due to not eating for about five or six days.

They were pleased that he has survived, but, are concerned their home was targeted with bait to begin with.

"It's really concerning because to get to our back yard you have to walk about five metres from the street and chuck it over over huge fence," Ms Martin said.

"How is anyone supposed to stop that?

"We just don't understand why, what does it achieve, were they trying to target our home to break in or just be cruel, the dogs don't bark, they're not annoying, there was just no reason.

"And in the end all it did was almost kill our dog, it was such a stupid, senseless act and I hope no-one else has to go through that with their pet."

Marshall's baiting incident is one of a number that has occurred in the Mackay region in recent months.

It is the first reported incident this year in South Mackay, however, while a large amount of homes in North Mackay, particularly Andergrove were hit earlier this year.

From these events at least four dogs died, many others becoming seriously ill, and if it weren't for the quick thinking of their owners could easily have died.

The most commonly known form of bait that is believed to be used is either paracetamol or anti freeze.

Both are slow acting, and anti freeze in particular is hard to detect.

Vets can eventually come to a conclusion, as it leaves a high trace of protein in the dogs system.

Common symptoms of poisoning in animals are vomiting, diarrhoea, seizures, disorientations, blood in the stool, lethargy, loss of appetite, bruising and nosebleeds.

Any animal owner that suspect their pet might have been baited should visit their nearest vet immediately.

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