Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Environmental health officers probe park dog deaths

Holly Image copyright John Young
Image caption Holly slumped on the floor following a walk at Forthquarter Park in Granton

Environmental health officers are investigating reports that six dogs have died at an Edinburgh park beside a former gas works.

The local residents association said the pets all suffered internal bleeding before they were put down following separate visits to Forthquarter Park in Granton.

It is unknown what caused the deaths which all happened since new year.

The site, formerly part of Granton gas works, is owned by the National Grid.

Extensive ground decontamination work was carried out before the park opened 10 years ago.

John Young, whose dog Holly had to be put down, said: "I was in the park with her last Sunday and we did our usual walk and went home.

"As I was getting into the house she slumped on the floor. I thought it was strange but helped her up and she slumped again.

"I kept an eye on her that day and she wasn't getting better so first thing on the Monday I took her to the vet.

"She was kept in overnight and put to sleep the following morning.

"It was awful, the vet told me she had severe internal bleeding so I told him to put her to sleep."

Image copyright June Hoy
Image caption Zak died after being walked at the park

June Hoy, from North Edinburgh, whose dog Zak also died said she walked her pet at the park several times a day.

She said: "He started to become unwell shortly after and I was prescribed some antibiotics for him but they didn't help.

"Two days later on Hogmanay he was back at the vet and scans showed he was bleeding internally.

"I was gutted when I realised he would have to be put to sleep.

"There was nothing the vet could do as the bleeding was so bad.

"He was treated just like a member of our family.

"He was a very healthy dog but within a matter of days he'd gone from being fine to dead."

'Horrible deaths'

A spokesperson for Friends of West Pilton said they were alerted to the problem a few weeks ago.

"We then put a post up on our Facebook page and quickly had six dog owners who told the same story.

"We have written to the council and the local politicians to make them aware and they have now taken action.

"Something has gone wrong if these dogs who were fit and healthy beforehand all died such horrible deaths.

"If there is anything suspect in the park then action needs to be taken and people need to be aware of the potential danger they are putting their dog in."

A City of Edinburgh Council spokeswoman said: "Our environmental health team are currently looking into the matter."

'Very concerned'

A National Grid spokeswoman said it was working with City of Edinburgh Council environmental health officers.

She said "extensive decontamination and ground clearance works" were carried out 10 years ago before the 40 acre site was redeveloped.

She confirmed no vermin control work had been done at the park and "very limited weed control" was carried out once a year at the park fence line using "safe" chemicals.

She said: "The park was opened in 2007 and we are not aware of any past environmental issues except an early issue with sewage contamination of a watercourse which we resolved working with Scottish Water.

"A regime of regular chemical and bacteriological testing of the water bodies within the park is currently in place."

Ben Macpherson, SNP MSP for Edinburgh Northern and Leith, said: "I am very concerned by the recent news about the death of several dogs in Pilton and around the area.

"People should be able to enjoy walking their dogs without any concerns as to their safety.

"The City of Edinburgh Council's environmental health officers are investigating this issue - I am in communication with the council and they are going to keep me updated.

"To ensure that the community feels safe, it is important that we fully understand what has happened.

"This will allow us to help put in place robust preventative measures."

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