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Did poisonous fish on north Norfolk beach kill golden retriever Hattie?

PUBLISHED: 18:20 02 January 2018 | UPDATED: 14:03 17 January 2018

The dogs playing on Cley beach. Photo: Chloe Thomas

The dogs playing on Cley beach. Photo: Chloe Thomas

Archant

A devastated family have warned others after their beloved golden retriever died from eating a fish washed up on Cley beach.

Map key - Red pin: Confirmed death, Yellow pin: Reported sickness

Chloe Thomas, from Halesworth, and her family, were walking three of their golden retrievers on Cley beach on New Year’s Eve, when one of their dogs, Hattie, ate a dead fish.

Less than an hour after leaving the beach, Hattie was dead.

Miss Thompson said: “As we walked along Cley beach, we noticed quite a few dead fish and star fish.

“A few times the dogs picked them up and we told them to leave them alone - but Hattie quickly ate one before we could stop her.”

The Thomas' golden retrievers. Photo: Chloe Thomas The Thomas' golden retrievers. Photo: Chloe Thomas

The family said they initially didn’t think too much of it.

But after the drive from the beach to Langham, they opened up the boot and realised that Hattie was dead.

Miss Thompson said: “We were so shocked and upset to lose her.

“It must have happened within 60 minutes of being at the beach.

Starfish washed up on the beach at Holme on New Year's Eve. Photo: Lisa Bromley Starfish washed up on the beach at Holme on New Year's Eve. Photo: Lisa Bromley

“The dogs had plenty of water before we left the beach and had a bowl for the journey home. “

Two of the family’s other dogs were also sick a few times, and were closely monitored.

The family are having a post-mortem examination carried out on Hattie to find out what caused her death.

They returned to the beach on New Year’s Day to collect a fish to give to the veterinary team, and warned every dog owner they saw on the beach.

Miss Thompson added they believe Hattie’s death was caused by palm oil or toxicity in the fish.

A spokesperson at the Norfolk Wildlife Trust (NWT) said: “We have been made aware that a dog has died following a visit to the North Norfolk coast.

“In the absence of further information on the cause of the dog’s death, NWT recommends that people keep dogs under close control and do not allow them to eat anything washed up on the shore, as some dead animals can be toxic.

“We understand that the incident has been logged with Environment Agency.”

Reports of dogs becoming sick after eating washed up fish or starfish on north Norfolk beaches have been widely shared online.

Lincolnshire Live have also reported vast numbers of starfish being washed up on beaches in the Skegness area.

Experts urge all dog walkers to supervise their pets on beaches

An Environment Agency spokesperson said they had been alerted to the reports.

They said: “We are aware of reports of dead fish, starfish and marine life being washed up at Cley after the storms of the last few days.

“We are not aware of any water quality issues or ongoing pollution incidents.

“The beach and the sea are natural systems, and we advise keeping pets under supervision to minimise the chances of them eating anything that has been washed up.

“We are currently liaising with other authorities to see if it is possible to obtain samples of any remaining fish to carry out an analysis.

North Norfolk district councillor John Lee said: “I would urge people walking their dogs stop their pets from eating any fish that may have washed up on the beaches.

“If people do see any dead fish on our beaches, please contact the Environment Agency incident hotline on 0800 807060.”

Have you been affected by what’s happened?

Email jessica.frank-keyes@archant.co.uk

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