A GRANDMOTHER’S beloved pet dog nearly died after eating drugs believed to have been stashed in woodland by dealers.
Just hours after Anne Officer had walked her four dogs in Craig Phadrig Woods on Sunday, her springer spaniel Ben (below) appeared disorientated and started shaking violently. He also became sensitive to light and sound so she rushed the animal to a vet.
Mrs Officer said: “I didn’t see what he had eaten, but his reaction would suggest it was some kind of drugs.
“He was shaking violently and couldn’t stand. He looked so confused and when we took him to the vets, the smallest noise or light would startle him.
“He is still shaky and clingy after the ordeal but he is much better than he was.”
She said she has heard of dogs eating drugs at several Inverness beauty spots, so asked her daughter to post a warning on Inverness Neighbourhood Watch’s Facebook page.
“It worries me because it could have been children that took the drugs, that’s the thing,” Mrs Officer said.
“It is a really popular spot to walk and you see loads of young families there.”
Dog owner Marly Gault of Kinmylies went through a similar ordeal in October 2016, but her pet died.
Vets were unable to save the life of her one-year-old cockapoo by the time she realised he had been poisoned.
He had also been walked in Craig Phadrig Woods.
“We had spent the afternoon in the woods and hours later he took really ill,” she said.
“I asked the vets if it could have been mushrooms or a plant but they say they wouldn’t have killed him that quickly.
“He was never too far away from the path; we could see him the whole time.”
Ward councillor Graham Ross said he believed the incidents were a result of dealers storing drugs in woodland and other rural areas for later collection.
“The problem with drugs is growing in the Highlands and these users are unscrupulous about where they store them for use and sale,” he said.
“They are not concerned that it may harm children or animals. I am not surprised that this is happening.
“There have been previous instances of hidden drugs being found by the canal path and it is a worry. You do not want children to come to any harm.”
The courts have dealt with several cases in recent months involving drug dealers from Merseyside and other parts of northern England retrieving stashes which had been buried in woodland.
Jamie Shearer, clinical adviser at Inshes Veterinary Centre where Ben was treated, said: “If the area is known to have a problem then the best advice would be to keep the dog on the lead and keep a close eye on them.
“If there is any concern that your dog may have eaten medication or something poisonous then the first thing you should do is call your vet. We are available 24/7.
“If we catch it quick enough we can induce vomiting, but it depends on what it is the dog has eaten.
“We see a few cases like this every year.”
Anyone who finds drugs should call police on 101.