2018. Wednesday, 30th May. Our dogs were with my husband that day in the safety of our house yard. This is a secure yard that the dogs also share with our grandchildren (one of whom is a 3-year-old, so it is also safe from toxins). The dogs went inside at about 4pm. I got home around 7pm and took Bunji outside to play.
Bunji (aboriginal for Mate) was a 16-month-old Coolie. Mate, our 12-year-old Coolie X, seemed tired so he stayed inside. We played outside and then went inside. I chased Bunjiaround the kitchen table. Very funny. Then it all seemed to change.
Bunji was running around inside the house but it had moved up a level since we were playing; she was almost out of control. I said “there is something wrong”. Bunji was now running wildly and using a mix of bark and howl. I rang the after-hours vet and she told me to wrap and hug her to try to quieten her down. As I was holding her, I saw the white of her eyes were bright red. Her gums were also bright red. Her heart was beating so fast and hard that I could feel it without actually touching her. She was urinating and pooing and had froth at her mouth.
I rang the vet again and said we were “on our way in”. As we carried Bunji to the back door, she had a seizure and died in our arms. We laid her on the table and got her heart beating again. We carried her into the car and headed to the vet. It took all my husbands strength to hold her; her struggle was so strong and then she had a seizure again.
As I was driving I could hear her body being torn apart by a massive seizure. Then there was silence… Five minutes later at the vets Bunji’s death had been so violent that her body was already in full rigor mortis. Her whole “death” took nearly an entire hour of agony.
We went home and looked where to bury her. Even though the vet had told us it was 1080 bait, we didn’t know to clean up Bunjis vomit. Sadly, Mate found it during the night.
The next morning Mate gave the same bark/howl from Hell. He ran into a galvanized iron fence, bounced off it and ran at it again. I screamed, “he has got it too!”. It took both of us to get him into the car and we raced him to the vets. The vet put him into a dark room and began treatment. We drove in to see him that night but were not allowed to see him (“A minor change in his heart rate would kill him”). The next morning the vet asked us to come in and put him down. It was the longest drive of our lives. When we arrived, Mate was coming out of his horror and to our delight he somehow survived. Sadly, over the last year he has aged 4 years; the 1080 has taken its toll.
I contacted the authorities (Biosecurity) and they told me there was only 1 neighbour baiting near us and that he was using meat 1080. Out of a dozen neighbours, only a couple knew he was baiting. Even they didn’t know dates or what bait was being used. There was NO boundary signage. Biosecurity was to interview all neighbours and get statements. They only interviewed a couple, the others never heard a thing. I was to find out there were 5 other dogs dead due to the same neighbour. One of those neighbours lost a second dog this year; he had 3, now he has 1 and he is adamant his dogs do not go off property.
The cost to me with the vet bills and the cost of another dog at over $3,000. One of the dogs was on the back of a ute to collect children off a school bus when he went into full 1080 symptoms in front of all the children.
We all suffer mental health issues but we have been offered NOTHING in terms of assistance. What did this investigation cost? All these baiters got was a formal warning. I have included another case that is very similar and the fine was huge. One piece of information that I find of interest is the owner of the property near me is a Wattle Range Councilor (if we had 1080 issues, he was the man) and his son, the baiter, at the time was working for PIRSA [the South Australian Department of Primary Industry and Regions].
“I live in an area where forestry is huge. After the death of my dog, I contacted forestry and I have found them to be very professional and cooperative. Plantation 141, Green Triangle Plantation, Forestry S.A. and Parks Victoria (our forestry is also in Victoria in a huge way), after much discussion, have changed from 1080 poison to using Foxecute (PAPP). Sadly, the government forces them to bait foxes.
I have been working with a Head Ranger at Vic Parks and followed his baiting program this season with Foxecute. This bait is not perfect, but it gives our dogs a chance (the bigger the dog, the bigger the chance) and death for dogs and foxes is comparatively quiet. It takes the oxygen from the blood & the animal quietly goes to sleep and dies.
This bait has an ANTIDOTE. I have been lucky enough to be given footage of trials of its use. I have 17 vets on my books from Warnambool to Mount Gambier, Penola, Naracoorte etc., and I have made sure they have the antidote on hand. I have set them up with how to access the cheapest price with longest shelf-life. I have made sure they all have the formula to administer the antidote.
With Foxecute, secondary poisoning is almost nil. The baiters have been laying it to a depth of 15cm (not 8-10cm) and finding great success with native animals (eg., bandicoots). They also found baiting in the colder months protects goannas. Foxecute is double the price, but the baiters have found it has double the inground life to 1080 so is actually comparatively cost-effective.
I have a friend who farmed 3,000 acres in Western Vic. She tells of finding 1080 baits in hollow logs and in a black cockatoos nest (translocated, we think, by crows). A local farmer tells how he ripped a den and found twenty-seven 1080 baits.
I have included a letter from Minister Speirs [current S.A. Minister for Environment and Water]. He refers to 1080 as being more humane than Foxecute (PAPP) and even claims all our native animals have a tolerance because there is 1080 in our plants. WHAT AN IDIOT.