Syd Miels, from Plane Creek, believes his eight-and-a-half-year-old Weimaraner dog Kula died after eating 1080 baits.
Syd Miels, from Plane Creek, believes his eight-and-a-half-year-old Weimaraner dog Kula died after eating 1080 baits. Caitlan Charles

Push to stop poison on people's doorsteps

SYD MIELS returned to his Sarina home to find his furniture destroyed, the fixtures in pieces and his pet dog writhing in pain on the floor.

Kula, his eight-and-a-half-year-old Weimaraner, had "gone wild" in his caravan home after, Mr Miels believes, consuming the common agricultural poison 1080.

Fellow Sarina resident Alan Kochevatkin said his mastiff great dane mix was poisoned only 800m from a pre-school

He has started a petition, which has garnered almost 450 signatures, asking the State Government to review exclusion zones and distance requirements surrounding the poison's use to improve community safety.

The petition notes "large numbers of domestic dogs are being killed in peri-urban areas through the use of commercially available baits containing 1080 poison" and also asks the government to review public education and enforcement of existing terms of supply.

Farmers use the sodium fluoroacetate poison 1080 to control invasive animals like wild pigs, feral dogs, foxes and rabbits.

Mr Miels said Kula was "screaming" until she was overcome by the poison.

"It's not an easy death," he said, "it's as graphic as you can get".

Mr Miels said his dog suffered a "prolonged and horrific death".

"Victims endure a bout of indescribable agony and terror, screaming and convulsing violently," he said.

Mr Miels said he did not use 1080 on his property.

Despite Kula being descended from hunting dogs, he said the pet he adopted from the RSPCA was a bit of a lapdog.

"She never strayed. She never left the property. She was overweight," he said.

"She was a lovely good dog."

In areas like Plane Creek, Sarina and Homebush, where rural farms are bumping into domestic blocks and residential areas, it is dogs like Kula who are at risk, Mr Miels said.

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Like Mr Miels, Mr Kochevatkin was shaken watching his beloved pet die after eating the poison.

"You can't imagine the suffering," he said

The two men are concerned changes to the regulatory requirements around the baits are putting more pets, and wildlife, at risk of similarly horrible deaths.

Three years ago , the Queensland Government advised farmers to give 72 hours notice to any habitation within 1km of the baiting area.

Before that, in 2014, anyone within 2 km was required to have notice, while no baits were allowed to be laid within 5 km of a town without approval from a biosecurity officer.

New regulations dictate commercial baits can now be laid without any approval. These baits are only required to be 150 metres away from a dwelling and only neighbours whose properties adjoin the bait site need to be warned.

A Biosecurity Queensland spokesperson the changes were due to the 1080 products becoming commercially available and registered by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority in Queensland.

Mr Kochevatkin said the regulatory changes had left the poison on people's doorsteps.

"It will kill anything," he said.

He said the exclusions zones "encroach right into towns and residential areas".

While the poisons used to be strictly monitored and controlled, the current regulation means there is no tracking of where the baits have been placed, Ms Kochevatkin said.

"It's been a complete deregulation of all the control," he said.

Mr Meils said he was also concerned about lack of oversight of the poisons, which are available from agricultural supply stores.

When Mr Meils visited a rural supply store, he said there were few questions asked when he inquired about the deadly poison. He said he could buy as many as 100 baits at a time.

"It has no place in a civilised society, with so little control," he said.

The Biosecurity Queensland spokesperson said "strict requirements exist" around 1080 baits to ensure community safety and prevent accidental poisonings.  

Before any baiting program can begin on public or private land, the spokesperson said there must be signs put up warning people that baiting would take place.

"This is so that dog owners can prevent their dogs from entering areas where baits have been placed," they said.

 

Syd Miels, from Plane Creek, believes his eight-and-a-half-year-old Weimaraner dog Kula died after eating 1080 baits.
Syd Miels, from Plane Creek, believes his eight-and-a-half-year-old Weimaraner dog Kula died after eating 1080 baits. Caitlan Charles

But this has not prevented four dogs being brought Sarina Veterinary Surgery with suspected 1080 poisoning.

A veterinarian, who asked not to be named, said since January 2018 two dogs had been brought in while suffering seizures, another two dogs had already died upon arrival at the clinic.

"You don't have very much time," she said.

With no known antidote for the poison, and a 20-minute journey from Koumala or the Sarina Range, she suspected there were quite a few owners who gave up before they made it to the surgery.

"By the time they get them, it's too far gone," she said.

Thankfully, she said the clinic had not seen a suspected 1080 poisoning since the end of last year.

The Biosecurity Queensland spokesperson said confirmed cases of accidental poisonings of pets were rare.

They said the use of 1080 was extensively reviewed by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority, which found that the use of the toxin can be managed so it does not cause "widespread or serious impacts on non-target fauna".

Mr Kochevatkin said the review was necessary, as "you can't leave your dogs locked up indefinitely".

The petition closes on August 5.



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