PRESS RELEASE: Family grieves tragic loss of pet dogs to 1080 bait

Published by Alex Vince on


PRESS RELEASE: Mount Gambier family grieves tragic loss of pet dogs to 1080 bait

18 March, 2021: The tragic deaths of two beloved pet dogs has left a Mount Gambier family traumatised and grieving. After witnessing their final hours writhing in pain, the family believe the dogs are the latest victims of the notorious poison known as 1080.

1080 poison is a tasteless, odourless and uniformly lethal substance in the same restricted class as other infamous chemicals like arsenic and cyanide. In South Australia it is injected in a range of materials, including meat and oats, to kill dingoes, foxes, pigs and rabbits. Despite assurances from authorities that a rigorous and robust regulation system exists, the recent deaths of Luna and Bear in Mount Gambier are a stark warning to other dog owners in the area and a chilling indictment of its continued use across the country.

Both of our dogs died this morning due to ingesting 1080. Unknown to us our boy Bear ate it and three hours later he died the most horrible death. He used his last bit of life to get to his bonded mate, Luna, where he died as my partner held him.

We didn’t know what was going on. Luna seemed fine… until she wasn’t. Three hours after we lost Bear, Luna started exhibiting symptoms. We rushed her to the vet, where her heart stopped three times. We got a call this morning that the fourth time her heart stopped she couldn’t be revived.

I never knew what 1080 was. I can’t get our babies faces out of my mind – contorted, terrified and in obvious pain. I woke up this morning thinking I heard the dogs playing and barking in the yard. My daughter woke up at the same time and said she thought she heard them, too. I can’t bring myself to shower in our bathroom because that’s where I was when I heard Bear’s screams.

No animal deserves to die this way

– statement by Luna and Bear’s family

Luna and Bear
Luna and Bear (image provided)

Despite assurances that there are stringent regulations that all 1080 baiting programs must adhere to, non-target animal deaths are not uncommon across the country. The tragic deaths of Luna and Bear are the second such event in the region in as many weeks. Before them, over 60 sheep had been found dead on a Bordertown property after a landholder had failed to appropriately store a large drum containing 1080-laced oats. Though they had been intended to kill rabbits, the drum had been located and upended by the sheep who then consumed its contents and died as a result. Although 1080 is listed as a chemical of national security concern by the Federal Government and evidence that it can be moved by birds to adjoining properties, South Australian authorities have confirmed that no action will be taken against the landholder whose negligence allowed livestock to access 1080 baits.

Since forming the Coalition we have heard from heartbroken families across the country who have lost beloved pets to 1080 poison. None of them have ever been the same afterwards. This family will never be the same after witnessing what this poison did to their beloved family pets. There is a very good reason almost every other country on earth has a blanket ban on its use and refuses to permit 1080 past its borders. It’s cruel, indiscriminate and unacceptable. Luna and Bear did not deserve to die this way – no animal deserves the torture 1080 puts its victims through. We will stand beside this family until they receive the justice they deserve.

– Alex Vince, campaign coordinator

In mid-2020, the South Australian government announced changes to its existing policy on controlling “wild dogs”. Part of the proposed changes included requiring landholders to follow minimum 1080 poison baiting standards. These requirements would force all landholders, including those not using their land for livestock production and those producing certified organic products, to participate in 1080 baiting programs. Public responses to the policy published by the South Australian government were overwhelmingly against further provisions for 1080 baiting. Many expressed dismay at the proposals, citing the suffering 1080 causes and concern for animal welfare.

Until Australia catches up with the rest of the world and prohibits the use of 1080 tragedies like these will continue to occur. No amount of regulation or legislation can prevent them and nothing short of a ban is going to be good enough for the families who have lost loved ones to 1080 poison.

The Coalition is the only advocacy group of its kind in Australia and regularly tables reports to government authorities on behalf of grieving families. The Coalition has recently set up an online 1080 Support Group for the families of victims to seek, find and offer assistance and sympathy.


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