8:52am Thursday 29th May 2014
A PENARTH woman has warned about the potential harm caused to wildlife and the environment by gardeners using slug repellent.
The woman, who did not want to be named, said that she believed slug repellent, or something similar, may have poisoned a fox that she saw unwell in a garden on Dryden Road.
The woman was walking her daughter to Fairfield Primary School when she saw the young fox appearing to have a fit on Wednesday morning, May 21.
“What concerns me is wildlife and conservation,” she said.
“There’s a possibility that it could have ingested something that was quite poisonous or toxic.”
She added that foxes and hedgehogs, as well as cats, dogs, and birds, could be at risk from eating slug repellents and that it could pass down the food chain.
“There’s a possibility that animals that weren’t the target of people that out down slug repellent could be affected by it,” she said.
“I can’t tell people what to do in their gardens, but I can ask them to think about alternatives that don’t involve chemicals or poisonous materials.”
Peter Hegarty, who lives at the house on Dryden Road where the fox was found, said that there was no slug repellent used in the front garden, but that it was used in the back garden.
He said that he was shocked to see the fox and that, as he was leaving the house when it happened, he believed the RSPCA were being called to take it away.
A spokesman from the RSPCA said they were called, but “a neighbour of the caller was kind enough to take the fox to a vet themselves”.
He added: "We advise anyone who finds an injured wild animal to watch it first to see how badly it is hurt. If it appears to be in need of help then the animal should be taken to a vet or a call made to the RSPCA emergency line on 0300 1234 999.
"People should always keep a safe distance though as wild animals can scratch and bite when frightened, particularly if they are injured.”
He added that some slug pellets contain a chemical called metaldehyde and ingestion of this can prove fatal without urgent treatment.
"Symptoms of metaldehyde poisoning can include a fox appearing unsteady on its feet and twitchy, as well as convulsions and possible respiratory failure,” he said.
"The government runs a Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme to investigate cases of suspected pesticide poisoning involving wild animals and companion animals. When a possible poisoning incident is discovered, this can be reported to 0800 321 600 (Freephone) and to the RSPCA’s Cruelty line on 0300 1234 999."
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