The deadly weed killer paraquat remains a potential threat to pets over the festive season, despite a government ban on imports.
Animal welfare organizations have warned that meat, apparently laced with the bluish colored poison, was found by a dog walker in West Bay last week. And though no injuries or deaths to pets have been reported, dog owners are warned to be vigilant.
Lesley Agostinelli of Cayman Animal Rescue Enthusiasts said pet poisonings are more common around the holiday season.
“For some reason, it seems to be a trend around Christmas and New Year,” she said.
“The ban on imports will have an impact, but at the moment it seems there is still some in circulation and dog owners need to be vigilant.”
Jennie Boyers, a veterinary nurse at Island Veterinary Services who led a successful campaign to have paraquat imports banned, said there have been no recent, verified cases of poisoning.
She acknowledged that banning paraquat did not necessarily deal with the underlying problem of people intent on poisoning dogs.
“Unfortunately, I think, people will find something else to use, but at least there will be an antidote for it, whereas with paraquat there is no hope.”
Several dogs have been killed after eating meat laced with paraquat in past incidents, which usually peak around Christmas. Two dogs had to be put down on Christmas Day 2013 because of paraquat poisoning.
Veterinarians and animal welfare workers speculate that more people are at home during the holiday season and potentially troubled by the nuisance factor of neighborhood dogs.