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New appeal to solve Cross Hills dog deaths mystery
PC Chris Bateson said the investigation continued into the eight dogs who died between May 20 and 25 after walking in fields and a footpath off Station Road, Cross Hills.
Previous reports indicated that 11 dogs had died, but Cross Hills-based PC Bateson said only eight had died and one had survived after becoming ill.
“The numbers were a little confused as there were some duplicate reports,” he said.
Police have now turned over the investigation to other agencies, including the RSPCA. “There has been no talk of prosecutions because that would be putting the cart before the horse,” said PC Bateson. “For that to happen, we have to identify what it is that killed the dogs and where it came from.”
RSPCA spokesman Leanne Plumtree said: “Despite our best efforts and those of everyone involved we still don’t know what caused the death of these dogs.
“All of the test results that have come back are inconclusive. Further tests are being carried out by Natural England, but it could take as many as three months.
“Without knowing the cause of the poisoning it is impossible for us to say whether these dogs died as a result of an accidental or deliberate act or to identify the person or people responsible.
“The problem is there may not be a conclusion and we may never have an answer to this.”
A Natural England spokesman said: “We would advise people to keep their dogs under close control or on a lead if they do walk in the area and follow any on-site information.”
Natural England investigates the deaths of animals and wildlife when there is a possibility that it relates to pesticide or chemical poisoning, and any evidence is then given to the police.
The Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency, which is part of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), said it had been commissioned to carry out a post mortem on one of the dogs.
The RSPCA said the investigation was continuing and it has appealed for anyone with information to ring the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999 and leave a message for Inspector Cath Byrnes.
- Read the full story Thursday’s T&A