Sunday, March 22, 2009

Cruelty to Animals - Snail Bait

Sorry to depart from the usual topic, but I just witnessed one of the most horrible things I've ever seen.

We have our dog in the vet, recovering from a splenectomy (yes dogs get them as well).

There was a beautiful, young, chocolate-colored dog in another pen. He was restless when I first walked by him, but despite being on anti-seizure medicine, he was getting more and more restless. As I was visiting my dog, and could more clearly see him, I noticed he was basically having full, constant, convulsions. His eyes were staring straight ahead, and his limbs where flailing around as if his whole body was in relentless, terrible motion. It was one of the most horrific things I've had to witness.

I overheard the vet techs talking that they had given the maximum dose of the anti-convulsive drug that they could. He was getting worse and worse, they said. The dog could not swallow even a drop of water.

I asked the vet tech standing nearby what had happened. She said that the dog had eaten snail bait.

I've since found out that snail bait contains metaldehyde, a toxin that is poisonous to animals, wildlife, and children(!). It is flavored with molassas to be attractive to snails. You can imagine what a young puppy would do when there was tasty 'meals' spread around the back yard.

Why this product is permitted to be sold is beyond me. Obviously, the poor dog's owners cared about their animal, because they took him to the emergency vet. Yet they apparently didn't read the small warning label on the back that warned against putting the product where dogs and small children could find and eat it (yes, children have died from eating this crap).

There are other snail control products available that don't contain
metaldehyde. And there are of course other control methods that don't subject animals to a slow, painful death.

Seeing that poor animal suffer such a heart-breaking event was enough to be seared in my mind as long as I live. If others could see that dog, I wouldn't believe that
metaldehyde wouldn't be banned immediately for at least residential use.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don't use this product where pets, wild animals, and even children could encounter it. This is not a painless death. It is torturing an animal to death.

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