FOOD laced with rat poison is feared to have caused the agonising death of a Wigan couple’s beloved pet dog.
Maisie, a four-year-old St Bernard, collapsed as she underwent treatment at a vet’s, having been brought in suffering ever worsening and perplexing symptoms.
Medics say that they are almost certain Bill and Jan Snape’s pet was killed by some form of toxin, such as deadly blood-thinning substances used to slay rats.
Security engineer Bill, 57, says he can only think that someone deliberately targeted their home in Mitchell Street, Newtown, perhaps throwing a piece of contaminated meat over the back fence into the yard where Maisie and the couple’s other dog – shih-tzu-terrier cross Smudge – roam.
And as the back of their street is gated at both ends, he can’t also help wondering whether the culprit is local.
Maisie’s is the latest in a series of suspected pet poisonings in the borough, and the Snapes are considering bringing in the police.
Bill says he also plans to install CCTV in a bid to protect his surviving animal.
Bill said: “We cannot go round accusing people but we have our suspicions. We can’t think why they have done it either.
“It’s not as if Maisie made a lot of noise, not that it would be any excuse to kill a family pet if they did.”
The first signs that the normally bouncy and enthusiastic dog was not herself was last Thursday week, when Bill says she appeared listless, and was off her food.
But because she was still drinking, the pair were not overly concerned.
Her condition continued though and, despite her showing no signs of bleeding or visible distress, they decided to book her into Wigan’s Anrich surgery on the Tuesday because she was even more listless.
On arrival at the vet’s, Maisie coughed up blood, and her breathing became laboured.
Checking inside her mouth, the vet found blood seeping. Rat poison immediately became the top suspect.
Bill, whose wife is in hospital with back problems, agreed to leave Maisie at the vet’s for further tests and treatment, but no sooner had he arrived home he received a call to say that while staff were taking blood samples, her heart had stopped and she had died.
Bill said: “It was really distressing. Maisie was a lovely dog and wouldn’t harm a fly. We are thinking of contacting the police because, as Jan says, if it can happen once then it can happen again.
“That’s why I’m also planning on putting CCTV up. It was suggested that Maisie might have eaten a recently poisoned rat that came into the yard but I’ve seen no evidence of that.
“Much more likely is that she was killed deliberately and that’s almost too horrible to think about.”