“We are just afraid”

Reports of toxic bait in the Ruhr area are causing fear among dog owners. T talk to them online. While the dog trainer offers helpful advice, the vet considers a healthy skeptic to be appropriate.

The reports sound alarming: “meat sausage with shards of glass”, “poisonous bait in the cake” or “sausage with rat poison”. All reports sent in the last few weeks via the “Dogorama” app in the Essen and Dortmund regions. Dog owners report new discoveries of poisoned bait out there almost every day.

Warnings have also reached Birgitte Brinkmann – worried. The dog’s owner has been traveling in the Ruhr area with the Boston Terrier Loulou for twelve years and is always on the lookout for poisoned baits. I’ve heard of too many cases of her four-legged friends dying from poison or swallowing a razor blade.

Toxic bait in the Ruhr region: Fear is great

“Lulu can also be called an ‘organic wastebasket’ — they suck everything up and are incredibly greedy,” Brinkman says, laughing. So, it’s understandable to worry that poisonous bait will end up in their mouths among sticks, candy, and trash. “I found out,” Brinkman says, laughing. The latest warnings in Facebook groups.

Martina Wengatz is a dog trainer in Essen. In her courses, she also struggles with dog owners’ fears of becoming victims of poisoning. “A client’s dog of mine recently bled to death internally from rat poison at the age of 17 months. We’re just terrified,” Wingates says wistfully.

Dog trainer Martina Wengatz: Dog trainer Martina Wengatz: “We’re just afraid.” (Source: private)

They offer anti-venom bait courses, where four-legged friends should learn one rule above all: “Don’t pick up anything off the ground unless I give you permission to do so!” However, this is not accommodated in a training session. “It takes time and patience,” admits Wengatz. It is a normal behavior for dogs to pick up and eat prey that is present.

And remember, “Poison baits are especially packed in delicious food, and dogs are of course happy with such a bite.” In order to protect your animal in the best possible way, you build different signals during training. The dog trainer explains, “This includes the ‘Take’ and ‘Off’ signals, but also a recall that works well. The animal should come back even in difficult situations.”

Occupation while walking

Some dogs have learned that picking up something off the ground gets their attention. “This is why being active while walking is part of the training,” says Wengatz. An untapped dog is more likely to go in search of something to eat. “There is absolutely no 100 percent security, but the training is always worth it.”

The dog’s owner, Brinkman, has been creative in protecting Lulu. “She has a rubber toy in the shape of a sausage, which you only get when you walk in the dark,” explains this Essen native. The dog loves her toys and rarely puts them down. If that happens, Brinkman knows she has to be careful. “Then Lulu might have smelled something she could pick up.”

Poison bait (archive image): It could look something like this.  Many animals eat them right away.  (Source: Imago Photos / Reinhard Kurzendorfer)Poison bait (archive image): It could look something like this. Many animals eat them right away. (Source: Reinhard Kurzendörfer / imago photos)

Can’t think of its way to people putting in poisoned baits. “But I think dog owners themselves sometimes make their fellow humans hate dogs,” she says. Often dogs will be unleashed everywhere, they will not obey, jump mercilessly at pedestrians and run and children or run in the woods. “Legends remain on sidewalks, in front gardens, or on footpaths in the leaves,” Brinkman adds.

“The animals can’t help them, unfortunately the owners don’t change their behavior,” she says angrily. Brinkman’s Desire: “More attention by dog ​​owners to the needs and feelings of our fellow human beings.” Misconduct does not justify committing criminal acts, but rather angers people. “Unfortunately there is no separation, only accusations, immediate suspicions and, in case of doubt, even murder,” said the woman from Essen.

Dog poisoning shows different symptoms

To prevent this from happening, even if the four-legged friend ate the bait, veterinarian Viola Heber advises: Visit the doctor and let the animal vomit. “Poisoning presents very different symptoms. Symptoms range from vomiting, diarrhea and shortness of breath to convulsions and loss of consciousness,” the doctor explains. At the vet, dogs received an injection that stimulated the vomiting center. “If you suspect that sharp or pointed parts have been swallowed, of course an X-ray of the animal should be done first,” she adds.

However, she considers the fear of poisoned bait a noise. “The situation is not reflected in our practices,” says the president of the National Association of North Rhine EV Practitioner Veterinarians. Documented cases of poisoning, which can be traced back to the padded bait, are rare isolated cases.

Tip: Stay skeptical

It therefore calls for caution, along with healthy skepticism. Symptoms such as bloody stools in dogs can also be caused by diseases such as parvovirus. Poisoning cases are often overdiagnosed – the assumptions of dog owners in most cases turn out to be wrong.

Actual poisonings are usually from accidents in the home – such as the careless use of poison for pest control, for example. At the same time, reports on Facebook and “Dogorama” are rarely supported by evidence. So it’s possible that the cuts of meat that were found weren’t bait at all, but just leftovers from the barbecue.

Police take information seriously

The police, in the least, cannot confirm the increase in poisoned baits. “We don’t have our own code for distributing poisoned baits, so it is difficult to track and measure the poisoning,” Dortmund police spokesman Mike Muller says.

It is possible that cases will not always be reported after the animal is taken to the doctor. “If we detect a backlog of reports in one place, we scrutinize them extensively,” Mueller says. The advice will be taken seriously – good news for dog owners.

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