Marine Parade Town Council has come under fire after a dog, Ludo, is suspected to have died after consuming a piece of poisoned bread that had been strewn around the estate as part of its pigeon culling exercise.
Ludo’s owner, Natasha Wilkins, had been walking her dog on 16 Nov when he gobbled up a piece of bread on the ground before she could stop him.
Just 15 minutes later, the eight-year-old Sheltie-Cavalier began shaking, retching and foaming at the mouth.
Veterinarian Dawn Ong saw that Ludo’s mouth was filled with a white viscous liquid. She told reporters, “We suspect it was due to some sort of toxin, though we can’t confirm what type.”
The dog passed on shortly after.
When Wilkins contacted MPTC the same day, she found out that the Town Council had engaged a pest control company that, a day before the incident, had strewn poisoned bread in the same area she and Ludo had gone for a walk.
It has been revealed that the bread used in the culling exercise was spiked with a poisonous compound called alpha-chloralose that is used to anesthetise the brains of affected birds, before they are tranquilised and taken away.
Alpha-chloralose is widely considered one of the most humane poisons available for bird control. The body temperature control mechanism in birds that consume this poison do not operate normally and they may die from a low body temperature.
The compound, which is approved for pigeon culling exercises according to Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) guidelines, is also used as a rodenticide elsewhere.
According to a 1997 journal article, dogs and cats that consume alpha-chloralose commonly suffer “seizures, muscle tremor, hyperaesthesia, hypothermia, salivation, myosis, stupor, coma and ataxia.”
Wilkins, a Singapore permanent resident, claimed that the MPTC initially told her that it could not comment directly on the case since there was no official autopsy report linking her dog’s death to the culling exercise.
An MPTC spokesman subsequently told reporters:
“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.”
This is not the first time that the pest control operator MPTC had engaged, Clean Solutions, has been flagged for possibly causing the death of a pet dog that had consumed poisoned bread left out for pigeons.
In 2013, another dog died after consuming poisoned bread strewn about by Clean Solutions after it was engaged by West Coast Town Council to conduct a pigeon culling exercise.
The company was later given a warning.
Leftover poisoned bread is supposed to be cleared from estates where pigeon cullign exercises are conducted after the exercise concludes. AVA has also said that property management staff, such as personnel from town councils, should be present to supervise pest control staff during “pigeon management operations.”
Investigations are ongoing.