A North East family has been left heartbroken after their beloved kitten died in a suspected poisoning, as others claim pets in the area have been targeted.
Rescue kitten Mowgli had not long been with Mandy Bedder, 61, and her family in Thornley, before Gilmoor Vets in Durham heartbreakingly confirmed he had suffered antifreeze poisoning and had to be put down.
She said eight-month-old Mowgli began showing symptoms of his poisoning on Saturday, October 8, and vets initially thought it was due to a change in diet.
Ms Bedder said she believes someone purposefully poisoned her cat, and others in her community have told her similar stories of what happened to Mowgli.
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Speaking on Mowgli, she said: “He loved tormenting people, [he’d] chase you and play, he was always on the go, all day.
“But you knew there was something wrong. It hit his kidneys, nothing was working, poor little thing.
“I just wanted to warn everyone, just be careful.
“I found out from my neighbor that someone was poisoning cats and dogs within Thornley.”
The kitten’s symptoms first showed as vomiting after eating along with lethargic behaviour, but Mowgli’s condition quickly deteriorated.
Since the incident, Ms Bedder said she had made a post on a local community group to warn everyone and that’s when people reached out to her with similar experiences.
From this, she says she learned several cats and dogs in her area have allegedly been poisoned or gone missing over the years.
Adding to this, Ms Bedder said she has been left unable to fully grieve as she has been caring for her husband, who is currently suffering from a kidney infection.
She said her husband has been left “distracted” by Mowgli’s passing, and they have since buried him in their back garden next to their other cat, Tinkerbell, who died of cancer two years ago.
After the heartbreak of this incident, she said she and her husband would not adopt another cat for fear of its safety.
She said: “Obviously, there’s somebody around here that doesn’t like them, and we’re not going to put another cat in danger.
“We dare to even let our dog off when we take him out for a walk noW. You just don’t what anyone’s dropped.”
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Speaking to The Northern Echo, the RSPCA said it does occasionally come across cases such as Mowgli’s.
In a statement today, an RSPCA spokesperson said: “This sounds a very distressing incident and it must have been terribly upsetting for the owner.
We would ask everyone in the area to check where they keep their pesticides and chemicals and make sure they are secure and out of the way.
Pet owners are asked to be vigilant and keep an eye on their cats’ wellbeing – if they are showing symptoms of poisoning, take them for veterinary treatment immediately.
“Deliberately poisoning a protected animal like a cat or a dog is an offense and carries a maximum sentence of six months in prison and/or an unlimited fine.”
The organization said poisoning symptoms can be seen anywhere from 30 minutes after injection to two or three days.
Pet owners should look for symptoms such as vomiting, seeming depressed or sleepy, appearing drunk or uncoordinated, seizures and difficulty breathing if they believe their pet has ingested antifreeze.
Antifreeze is highly toxic to animals and pet owners must be careful as pets have been known to consume it because of its sweet taste.
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