Billy was Bella Wilkinson's (pictured) 18th birthday present. Picture: Supplied.
Billy was Bella Wilkinson's (pictured) 18th birthday present. Picture: Supplied.

‘He was everything’: Family’s warning after candle kills pup

A mother of five says she won't be able to escape the feeling of guilt surrounding the death of her family's beloved dog after he ate a mosquito candle, she believes was sold to her without warning.

Vanessa Wilkinson's family border collie, Billy suffered severe poisoning and died after he ate a mosquito candle bought from a Coast Coles on January 6.

Ms Wilkinson described the five-year-old border collie as the most "fun loving, beautiful dog".

"He became everybody's best friend," she said.

"He would go for bike rides with my husband up the hill, he would go for trips to the coast with my other daughter when she needed a companion, he would play footy with my younger son, he slept by our bed, he was everything."

She said it was devastating to watch Billy's traumatic death.

"He was very unwell, we went straight to the vet and they did everything they could do including pumping his stomach but … he couldn't stop convulsing, he was just having seizures," she said.

Vanessa Wilkinson's family border collie, Billy died after eating a mosquito candle she says was sold to her without any warning. Picture: Supplied.
Vanessa Wilkinson's family border collie, Billy died after eating a mosquito candle she says was sold to her without any warning. Picture: Supplied.

 

Vets treated Billie for a snake bite and toad poisoning but decided to put him down when Ms Wilkinson discovered the five-year-old dog had eaten the mosquito candle.

Ms Wilkinson bought the individual candle in a glass jar, covered in clear plastic with a note saying to read instructions before use.

Apart from two symbols indicating not to leave the candle inside or in reach of children, Ms Wilkinson said she was unable to locate any instructions on the packaging and put the direction down to typical warnings associated with candles.

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After Billy's death Ms Wilkinson thought she may have accidentally bought the candle after it was taken out of its packaging, but was shocked to learn the product was purposefully sold individually at several Coles stores.

"All stores had them on the bottom shelf, some were in full packaging with a cardboard box and others were in the glass, like I had bought," she said.

"The candles sold in a box had written warnings, do not put near animals or children, it says not to throw packaging away until the product had been used.

"I thought why I have been able to buy this candle without any packaging and yet this one has packaging with the appropriate warnings, where has this gone wrong?"

Ms Wilkinson said she was saddened by the fact that people could buy the product with no warning.

"If people know what they are buying that's their choice to buy it … it certainly shouldn't be on the bottom shelf and shouldn't come without all the information that it does come with if it is in the correct packaging" she said.

"Looking back now I say I definitely wouldn't have used it if I knew or I would have at least not put it on the ground."

Ms Wilkinson, who paid more than $2000 for Billy's treatment, contacted a solicitor to gain an understanding of her legal rights, but could not afford the legal bills to take the matter further.

"I don't think that will ever leave me that somehow I was neglectful in leaving the candle there … all I can think of is stopping it from happening to anyone else," she said.

"No dog or god forbid a child must ever suffer due to this neglect again."

Billy pictured as a puppy. Picture: Supplied.
Billy pictured as a puppy. Picture: Supplied.

A Coles spokeswoman said they had notified the supplier of the product and understood they were investigating the incident.

"We take the safety of all products sold at Coles seriously and were concerned and saddened to hear about this customer's experience," she said.

"The product is approved for sale in Australia by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority."

The Sunshine Coast Daily contacted the supplier but did not receive a response.



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