Puppy’s heart-wrenching graveside vigil after deaths
WARNING: Distressing Images
This is the heart wrenching moment a maremma puppy refused to leave a freshly covered grave.
Only hours earlier, the 9-week-old had been following his mentors, fellow maremma Fay and Border collie kelpie cross, Tippy, around their bed and breakfast home, but now the two dogs lay dead after suddenly dying in agony from suspected 1080 poisoning.
Pat Jackson, 66, said her husband, Greg, had found 2-year-old Tippy screaming and thrashing around before dropping dead minutes later.
"In 47 years of marriage I had never heard my husband sound so distressed, sobbing and crying," she said.
Owners of the Green Acres Hobby Farm in Moolboolaman, near Gin Gin, the Jackson's suspect the bait was possibly carried onto their land by a bird - following a Bundaberg Regional Council-approved baiting day on August 13.
They want justice for their beloved dogs and are joining the call to have the deadly poison banned in Australia.
The chemical sodium fluoroacetate, commonly known by its brand name of 1080, is a highly toxic pesticide that is used to kill introduced "pest animals" such as feral dogs, foxes, cats, rabbits, pigs, and in some cases, native wildlife.
It is easily ingested by "non-target" animals because it is odourless, tasteless and colourless.
A permit is needed to use the poison.
Mrs Jackson said she was minding some grandchildren in Aramac, near Longreach, on August 30, when her husband rang in tears about 9am.
"He was sobbing uncontrollably on the phone and he said 'Tippy's dead'," she said.
"He was inside when he suddenly heard him yelping so he ran outside. Tippy was running from the shed, about 30 metres from our yard, screaming and thrashing himself around.
"He threw himself under my car parked in the carport and Greg went over to try to get him out.
"Tippy had pushed himself under the wheel arch of my Ford Territory, and Greg managed to grab hold of his leg to pull him out, but by then he was dead."
Fay, a livestock guardian dog, protected a herd of 40 goats and sheep from feral dog attacks on the 100-acre Duckpond Road property, but was on the verandah when Mr Jackson left to head to Bundaberg for an appointment.
When he returned about midday, 7-year-old Fay was lying dead and stiff in the front yard, with her mouth wide open.
"Obviously, in his absence she must have found what Tippy had been chewing on. The vet told us they only need a tiny bit of this poison and it's enough to kill them," Mrs Jackson said.
After Mr Jackson, 67, finished burying the working dogs, the puppy refused to budge from the grave.
"Ted walked around and lay down on top of the grave. Greg had to literally pick him up and put him into the car to take him home," Mrs Jackson said.
The Coalition of Australians against 1080 Poison posted photos of the deceased dogs in their grave to their Facebook page and started a petition titled Demand Justice for Tippy and Fay.
"We urgently need your help to spread awareness about this horrifically cruel poison and seek justice for Tippy and Fay, the latest victims to be taken too soon by a poison banned almost everywhere else in the world," the post states.
The petition asks for the dog's deaths to be immediately investigated by various government agencies.
Coalition co-founder, Alex Vince, said the Fay and Tippy were the second lot of pets, they knew of, to die from meat laced with 1080 within two days in Australia.
He said they regularly received reports of companion dogs and cats being killed by someone else's 1080 baits.
In a number of cases, some of which are documented on ban1080.org.au, multiple pets have died within minutes of each other.
Mr Vince, 31, said many Australians were not aware the pesticide was still used around the nation.
"A lot of people think it was banned years ago … as it was banned almost everywhere else in the world," he said.
"Otherwise people don't even know it's happening."
Many proponents of the bait state 1080 is essential for farmers, and that it is safe for most native animals.
A 2017 Biosecurity Queensland publication states many mammals, birds and reptiles have developed a much higher tolerance to 1080 than introduced animals, due to their evolution with naturally occurring 1080 in some native plants.
"The dose rates used in declared pest animal control, coupled with responsible baiting practices, mean that the chances of killing native animals are minimised," it states.
With another baiting day scheduled by the council for September 17, Mrs Jackson said she now fears for Ted and for their human and pet farm guests.
"We're pet and child friendly and have a lot of people come here with their pups and children," she said.
"How are we ever going to know we're going to be safe from this again, if people are either laying baits without permits or if the baits are still close enough to have secondary poison happen to other animals?"
A Biosecurity spokesman said strict rules on the use of 1080 for feral animal control were set by Queensland Health.
"Confirmed cases of accidental poisonings of domestic animals are rare and there are no reported human health impacts at the dose rates imposed by State and Federal agencies," he said.
The use of 1080 baits has been banned in numerous countries for years.
It is still used in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Korea, Mexico and Israel.
In the US, baits laced with the poison was outlawed in the 1970s, but it is still in restricted use in the form of livestock protection collars.
The Bundaberg Regional Council has been contacted for comment.
Originally published as Puppy's heart-wrenching graveside vigil after agonising deaths