48 Dogs, One Cat Killed in 28 Days

Temik – or "Two-step" as its illegal buyers know it – has become a powerful weapon used by burglars to silence their canine victims.

In the past month up to 48 dogs and at least one cat have been poisoned by suspected burglars across Middelburg, including areas in Kanonkop, Dennesig and in Eastdene.

Only one dog has been reported to have survived the ordeal of consuming poison.

In only some of the cases burglars failed in their attempt to break-into a household but still caused unbearable trauma for the many families affected.

A recent spike in house burglaries across the town and the latest surge in dog poisonings has the community reeling from an enemy that will stop at nothing from getting into a home and stealing.

The Temik is usually mixed with a concoction of meat or bread, hard to resist for pets who aren’t trained not to accept food from strangers.

Senior Inspector at the Middelburg SPCA, Petro Oberholzer, said this week that the situation was “devastating”.

“It’s very heartbreaking to see a beloved pet die like that. I also think it’s a very painful death. We try to assist in any which way we can but in most cases it’s already too late”.

Inspector Oberholzer added that the Middelburg SPCA would like to extend a word of thanks to all the CPF Sectors, Radio Groups and 911 for increased patrols over the past couple of weeks in an effort to combat this situation.

“We advise residents to let their pets sleep inside for the night – it’s probably the only way to keep them safe”

Warrant Officer Lize de Witt of the Middelburg SAPS confirmed that the latest incident of dog poisoning occurred over the weekend at a home in Piet Grobler Street in Dennesig.

She also urged home owners to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity.

• Temik is widely used as a pesticide on crops such as cotton, potatoes and peanuts. It is registered in terms of the Fertilizers, Farm Seeds, Agricultural and Stock Remedies Act of 1947. As a member of the carbamate pesticides, classification is divided into super, high and medium toxicity.

Temik falls in the super-toxin class, which means that it is highly toxic. Although Temik has received a lot of negative publicity owing to its association with burglaries, it is seen as an extremely effective product sold in the agricultural market.

• The only lawful way of obtaining Temik is by either being a qualified pesticide operator, or by having a qualified operator present while using the product. The Department of Agriculture controls the qualification examinations and strict registration of the products. Every product container carries a unique barcode, which is recorded at every stage of distribution.

However, experts believe that the widespread distribution and use of Temik is not necessarily linked to registered distributors, but to the illegal selling of Temik as a “domestic rat poison” at bus depots in South Africa.

• According to research published on Health24, “the majority of veterinarians (80%) indicated that they thought criminal intent was the main reason why animals were poisoned”.

They advise pet owners to keep their dogs inside or in a back yard at night. Pets should be fed at night to prevent them from eating poisoned bait. Obedience training for dogs to prevent food acceptance from strangers should also be implemented. A poisoned animal should be taken to a vet as quickly as possible.

If this isn’t possible, the only other action is to induce vomiting.The best-known treatment is atropine, injected intravenously or under the skin. Electrolyte therapy and activated charcoal along with a number of other therapies are also frequently used.

The survival rate is estimated at 50%-75%, following treatment. And the average cost of treatment is estimated to be in the range of R500 to R1500, depending on duration of hospitalisation and range of treatments used.

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