Locals fear for children after dog found poisoned near school

Residents in the Co Clare village are concerned that a child will be killed by ingesting Strychnine, after about a dozen dogs in the area were found to have ingested the deadly poison.

One of the dogs was found dead about 100 yards from Clonlara National School.

Strychnine, which is illegal to possess, was discovered in a number of the dogs following post mortems at the Treaty Veterinary Clinic, Thomondgate, Limerick.

Prior to their horrific deaths, the dogs had been walking on the River Shannon Canal Bank that runs along by the picturesque villages of Killaloe, Twomilegate, O'Brien's Bridge, and Clonlara towards the ESB power station at Ardnacrusha.

The walkway is owned by the ESB, who have rented surrounding lands to sheep farmers.

A spokesperson at Killaloe garda station said: "We have gardaí dealing with a number of incidents. The investigation is non-conclusive at the moment and our inquiries are ongoing."

Head nurse at Treaty Veterinary Clinic, Limerick, Tracy Marlow said: "(People) were giving out because it was so near the school. In the last two months... we had three (dogs). They were all medium-sized dogs. They were all dead on arrival.

"The owners had taken them out for a walk (in Clonlara) and when they got home they just started showing symptoms of twitching and nervousness. Then they collapsed and were dead within 15 minutes.

"They were all tested for illegal substances and they (all) turned up positive for Strychnine, which is illegal in this country. So how one would even got it is beyond me.

"We don't know how it got onto the (canal) bank or who laid it. Strychnine is a poison that's not readily available here, so you can't just go into a shop and buy it, so where they were getting it, I don't know."

Clonlara publican, Eugene O'Shea, whose four-month old Siberian Husky died from ingesting the poison, said: "There is a stretch (of the canal) right next to the school. One dog died at that side actually.

"Three others died just across the road on the other side of the village, so yeah, it's very close to the school."

He said locals were fearful a child would be hurt or killed if they came into contact with the deadly poison.

"Yeah (people are fearful) because there's a lot of kids (playing) there because people have brought their young kids and dogs because it is a very popular (walkaway) for families wit their dogs and children."

Dog owners and the ESB have erected signs along the canal bank advising people to be vigilant after six dogs were found poisoned in the past three months.

"I would be concerned," said Frankie Coote, County Clare Dog Warden.

"If (laying poison) is not done legally and properly it can be picked up (by birds) and dropped (elsewhere).

"Strychnine is illegal. Strychnine has been outlawed. There are other methods that (people) can use. There are other forms (of poison) that you can get legally."

He added that anyone laying any type of poison on lands must, by law, notify An Garda Síochána, and erect warning notices.

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