A dog owner has warned that weed killer being used by council contractors on pavements is harmful to pets – and says pleas to avoid spraying it near his home have been ignored.
Tom Lee saw the substance being sprayed by a man on a mini tractor outside his house in Sittingbourne on Monday morning.
The 57-year-old says the chemical contains glyphosate – a herbicide which has been banned by some local authorities over fears about its toxicity and which has previously left his dog with painful sores.
He said: "Around four years ago on a dog walk I passed a mini tractor spraying.
"My dog, Tansy, was with me but I did not give it much thought and carried on with my walk.
"The following morning, I came downstairs to find her having torn all her fur off the inner thigh of one rear leg.
"The skin was clearly sore and oozing clear fluid from her self-mutilation."
Mr Lee came to the conclusion that Tansy's sores were likely linked to the spraying from the previous day.
After making inquiries with the council, he found out that the weed killer used had glysophate in it, which can be dangerous if ingested by animals
He said: "I took my dog to my vet who agreed a toxin was the likely cause and agreed the previous day’s spraying could be the cause.
"My dog recovered and was fine until some months later I woke to find the exact same self-mutilation again.
"I checked with Kent County Council and they had not recently sprayed glyphosate in our area.
'My main concern is for the health of dogs and other animals who suffer from Kent County Council's insistence on spraying the county with glyphosate...'
"However, when I went to our usual park, the cafe owner told me the council had been in the previous day spraying around the park."
When he phoned KCC, he says it promised him there would be a "spray exclusion zone" around his house.
However, a year later he came across a tractor spraying on his road again.
"The entire pavement was being sprayed regardless of any weeds present or not," he said.
"I purposely clear weeds from the pavement, wall edges and gutters around my house, my neighbour’s and the church next door to ensure the contractor has no reason to spray near my property."
On Monday, when he saw the tractor spraying again, he spoke to the contractor who confirmed to him he had no instructions of any exclusion zones.
The next morning the same operator he spoke to the previous day was spraying directly outside his house again.
"My main concern is for the health of dogs and other animals who suffer from Kent County Council's insistence on spraying the county with glyphosate," said Mr Lee.
"There is also considerable harm caused to us and the environment from the use of glyphosate."
KCC said all its contractors follow the required industry guidance.
A spokesman for the authority said: "Our contractor is currently carrying out the second weed treatment of the year in Sittingbourne.
"All operatives are required to be competent in the application of herbicide and should follow the necessary industry guidance.
"We also carry out spot checks to ensure that standards are being met and take up any issues with the contractors involved.
"We will review the standard of the works being undertaken in Sittingbourne and take action if appropriate."