Dog owners warned to keep pets in yards following spate of poisoned baiting in Woongarrah

POISON THREAT: Dog owners are being urged to keep their dogs on a  lead while out walking in the Woongarrah area on the Central Coast. Picture: Karleen Minney

POISON THREAT: Dog owners are being urged to keep their dogs on a lead while out walking in the Woongarrah area on the Central Coast. Picture: Karleen Minney

DOG owners are being urged to keep their pets in their yards, and to keep them on a lead when out on walks, as concerns grow about a deadly spate of poisonings.

Police and the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) are investigating the poisoning deaths of two dogs and more than 250 birds around Woongarrah.

The birds killed included magpies, peewees, butcher birds, currawongs and corellas.

The poison used in the attacks, fenamiphos, is so dangerous that there are fears that humans – most likely children – will be affected.

Even the culprit is at risk.

Simply handling fenamiphos is enough to make a person sick.

Central Coast Council’s noxious weeds and pest inspector Paul Marynissen is helping with the investigation.

He collected a number of the dead birds, particularly from under a fig tree at Budgewoi town centre, and sent them off to testing to the EPA which helped identified the source of the poison.

A resident discovered the dead dogs, and testing of the dogs has shown they succumbed to the same poison that claimed the birds. 

The investigation found that minced meat had been laced with the poison.

“I have absolutely no idea what goes through a person’s mind to do this,” Mr Marynissen said.

“I just can’t fathom it. It’s a horrible death and the people doing it are also putting themselves at risk. Just handling it with bare hands can make a person really sick. We are keeping our ears and eyes open.”

Mr Marynissen said pet owners should be vigilant.

“Make sure you keep your dogs safe in the yard and keep them on a lead when they’re out,” he said. “If you see something and it’s mince, ring the council or the EPA, don’t handle it with bare hands.

“My big fear is that a child wandering along the road might wonder what it was, it would make them very sick, even kill them.”

TARGETED: Magpies. Picture: Fairfax Media

TARGETED: Magpies. Picture: Fairfax Media

The EPA’s acting Hunter director, Karen Marler, said the birds and dogs had been poisoned with the same pesticide, fenamiphos. 

“This pesticide is not readily available to the public,” she said.  “It is very distressing that anyone could be so malicious.”

Ms Marler said investigators had received several leads and reminded the public that misusing pesticides carries fines up to $120,000.

“We are again appealing for people to come forward with any information which may assist. 

“We are particularly interested in hearing from the owner of the dark coloured Ford Ranger ute seen in the vicinity of Highberry Street, Woongarrah, on Saturday, September 24, to assist with our enquiries,’’ she said.

  • Phone the EPA Environment Line on 131 555.

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