Dog dies after eating spiked bread along road

Ludo, the eight-year-old Sheltie-Cavalier. Ms Natasha Wilkins was walking it along Lorong Lew Lian when it ate a piece of bread on the ground and within 15 minutes, it was shaking, retching and foaming at the mouth.
Ludo, the eight-year-old Sheltie-Cavalier. Ms Natasha Wilkins was walking it along Lorong Lew Lian when it ate a piece of bread on the ground and within 15 minutes, it was shaking, retching and foaming at the mouth.PHOTO: NATASHA WILKINS
Ludo, the heathy 8-year-old dog owned by Serangoon Central resident Ms Natasha Wilkins.
Ludo, the heathy 8-year-old dog owned by Serangoon Central resident Ms Natasha Wilkins. PHOTO: NATASHA WILKINS
Pigeons at the void deck along Lor Liew Lian, fed rice by people from the neighbourhood.
Pigeons at the void deck along Lor Liew Lian, fed rice by people from the neighbourhood. PHOTO: NATASHA WILKINS
A notice for the culling was placed by Marine Parade Town Council at Blk 8 Lor Liew Lian.
A notice for the culling was placed by Marine Parade Town Council at Blk 8 Lor Liew Lian. PHOTO: NATASHA WILKINS
Ludo, the heathy 8-year-old dog owned by Serangoon Central resident Ms Natasha Wilkins.
Ludo, the heathy 8-year-old dog owned by Serangoon Central resident Ms Natasha Wilkins. PHOTO: NATASHA WILKINS

Vet finds its mouth filled with white, viscous liquid, believed to be some sort of toxin

Bread spiked with a tranquilliser and intended for a pigeon culling exercise may have killed an eight-year-old Sheltie-Cavalier dog on Nov 16.

Marine Parade Town Council (MPTC) said it is investigating the incident, which bears some similarities to a 2013 case. In that instance, a dog died after eating spiked bread left out for pigeons by a pest control company.

The Straits Times learnt that both incidents involved the same company - Clean Solutions - which is engaged by three town councils here, including MPTC. The dog owner, Ms Natasha Wilkins, 49, said the incident happened while she was walking her dog Ludo along Lorong Lew Lian at about 6.30am.

Before she could stop her dog, it ate a piece of bread and within 15 minutes, started shaking, retching and foaming at the mouth.

Veterinarian Dawn Ong, who saw Ludo, said the dog's mouth was filled with a white, viscous liquid. "We suspect it was due to some sort of toxin, though we can't confirm what type," she added.

After contacting MPTC the same day, Ms Wilkins learnt that a pest buster, contracted by the town council, had used spiked bread to cull pigeons on Nov 15, in the same area where she walked her dog.

Ms Wilkins, a British national and permanent resident here, claimed she was initially told by MPTC that it could not comment directly on the case since there was no official autopsy report linking Ludo's death to the pigeon culling.


Ludo, the heathy 8-year-old dog owned by Serangoon Central resident Ms Natasha Wilkins. PHOTO: NATASHA WILKINS

An MPTC spokesman said: "We have since reached out to her and clarified that there may be other factors that could have led to the unfortunate incident. We are investigating this matter with her, together with our pest control operator."

Ms Wilkins said she met MPTC officials and representatives from Clean Solutions on Nov 17.

The Straits Times understands that in the MPTC culling exercise, bread spiked with an anaesthetic compound called alpha-chloralose was given to pigeons. The birds were tranquilised before being taken away.

This is in line with Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) guidelines. But leftover bread is supposed to be taken away as well.


The pigeon culling site where Ludo ate what looked like a piece of poisoned bread. PHOTO: NATASHA WILKINS

Ms Wilkins said she had not been aware of the culling exercise, and did not see the notice put up by the town council on the notice board at Block 8, along Lorong Lew Lian.

In 2013, a dog died after eating poisoned bread left out for pigeons by Clean Solutions, which was engaged by West Coast Town Council.

The firm was later given a warning.


Ludo’s ashes back in Ms Wilkin’s house after cremation. PHOTO: NATASHA WILKINS

An AVA spokesman said property management staff, including town councils, should be present to supervise pest control personnel during "pigeon management operations".

They are also encouraged to put up notices in common areas prior to the start of pigeon control operations.

Ms Wilkins said: "Birds fly, and the things they put in their mouth could drop even if they picked it up from somewhere else."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 23, 2017, with the headline 'Dog dies after eating spiked bread along road'. Print Edition | Subscribe