Fear and rumour stalk Hackney Downs as dog lovers talk of poison bait and terrier’s sudden death

HackDnsDogs: Hackney Downs London E8 spring 2016 © DavidAltheer [at] gmail.com
Up and over: a walker and her charges rollick around the tree-lined park

RUMOURS OF deadly poison and sausages with needles inside them supposedly left on Hackney Downs to kill dogs have been frightening pet owners since the summer.

The claims gained credibility when a bull terrier died in pain and terror over several days from what its owner said was rat poison in meat it found at the railway end of the downs. The gentle creature was little more than 18 months old.

The rumours reached such a pitch that Hackney park keepers called a public meeting in the building at the centre of the downs. Dog-lovers, however, failed to turn up.

The advice, anyway, seemed unlikely to quell fears. The keepers said there had been concern about dogs’ becoming ill while being exercised on the downs. Posing the leading question, “What to do if you suspect your dog has been poisoned,” they said:

“Remove your pet from the area;

“check to make sure your pet is safe, breathing and acting normally;

“do not give any home antidotes;

“do not induce vomiting;

“collect a sample of the material, along with the packaging or container, and save it;

“contact your vet or emergency veterinary clinic immediately.”

HackDns: Hackney Downs London E8 spring 2016 © DavidAltheer [at] gmail.com
Dawn on the Downs: its paths are popular also with joggers
Sensible advice, but have the keepers found evidence to justify the fear, Loving Dalston asked. Officially, the keepers would say no more. Discreet enquiries suggest they are at least sceptical about needle-containing sausages, as are several park-users.

Nevertheless, the council promises that “officers” (they mean park-keepers) will be “patrolling Hackney Downs”.

Some good news: in the wake of the closure of the Russet, a new café-store, Autumn Yard, opens at 17 Amhurst Terrace  E8 2BT on Tuesday 22 November 2016.

Where better to compare notes?

David Altheer 181116

* Backstory: Hackney Downs loses the Russet; Russell Brand steals Downs limelight 

Russet cafe © david/altheer [at ]gmail.com
Raising the bar: the Russet in its heyday catered to many tastes
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