Dog owners are being urged to be vigilant after a number of pets were “poisoned” at a Wigan beauty spot.
Pet owners using Orrell Water Park are being asked to look out for the signs of poisoning after five dogs reportedly died or fell ill within weeks of each other following walks at the reservoir and on surrounding land.
The cause of the incidents remains unknown, leaving anxious dog owners to speculate whether the acts are deliberate or accidental.
One Orrell resident had to rush his Boston Terrier to the vet last week after he fell ill following a walk.
“My wife had taken our dog out round the water park, but halfway round he started scratching at his face,” he said.
“By that evening he had come up in lumps all over his body.
“He was throwing up constantly and his face was all swollen up.
“We got him to the vet who said he had definitely come into contact with something.”
The devastated pet owner contacted Wigan Council, the RSPCA and the Environment Agency after being given the news and was told that the incident sounded like a crime and police would need to be informed.
In the past week, other dog owners have also taken to Facebook to discuss the growing problem. Many have urged others to stop their dogs from running free and picking up any unknown objects.
The RSPCA is urging anyone whose dog begins vomiting or becomes dizzy, depressed, has difficulty breathing or seizures, to take their pet to the vet immediately along with any samples of anything it may have come into contact with.
A spokesperson said: “We would urge anyone with any information relating to poisoning to contact us on 0300 1234 999.
“Many different substances can poison pets so it is beneficial for pet owners to be aware of the signs of poisoning so they can ensure they take their animals to a vet immediately.
“It is beneficial to confirm which poisoning is responsible to increase the chance of locating the source so other pets and animals in the local area can be protected.
“It is difficult to determine if cases are accidental incidents or deliberate, however poisoning an animal deliberately is a criminal offence which carries up to six months imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine.
“Signs of poisoning can be seen anything from 30 minutes after an animal has ingested the chemical, but it can be two or three days before signs of kidney failure show.”