Published: 17:00, 10 January 2019
| Updated: 17:05, 10 January 2019
A rare breed dog was rendered immobile after eating what its owner believes was poisoned meat.
On New Years Eve, Damien Hickie was walking Tyler - his Cesky Terrier - through Connaught Park in Dover when he sniffed out diced ham scattered around bins and under trees.
Mr Hickie said: “I don’t normally take him to Connaught Park, and it’s a dog-friendly one so I'd let him off the lead.
"I noticed he was hovering around a tree and I saw that there was ham on the ground around it.
“I thought that it was strange that it was around a tree and a bin, two of the places where dogs go most often. It just didn’t seem right.”
Before the Gopak Ltd operations director could take him away from the meat, Tyler had eaten a couple of pieces. Within two hours, the dog fell seriously ill and he was taken into emergency care at the Barton Veterinary Hospital.
The dog’s owner said: “He was vomiting quite severely and his limbs had locked up. He was completely lifeless.
“The vets gave him some anti-vomiting medicine which worked for a time, but he went downhill the next day and has been put on a drip.
“I reported it to the RSPCA and they felt it was a bit strange as ham wouldn’t normally cause any problems by itself. The only thing they could think of was it being laced with poison or contaminated in some way.”
The five-year-old former show dog is now recovering at his Minerva Way home, and is expected to return to full health soon.
The incident has cost Mr Hickie more than £700, and he has vowed never to return to the site of the incident.
He said: “I know of similar incidents that have happened across Kent and I just want to make people aware. People should be vigilant and not let their dog out of sight.
“Also, if a young child had been playing in the park then they could have picked up a piece of the meat and been seriously harmed.”
An RSPCA spokesman said: “While we do not know if this was an accidental or deliberate incident, it is concerning to hear that a dog has become sick after ingesting something in a park.
“We would urge pet owners in the area to be vigilant at all times and be on the lookout for anything suspicious. We would urge anyone who has any information to contact us on the RSPCA cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.”