Concerns are being raised following reports that a dog died after eating rat poison at a beauty spot near Horsham.
Worried residents have sounded warnings following the dog’s death after a visit to Southwater Country Park.
Many have taken to social media urging people to be vigilant. They say that the park has a large rat problem and that rodents have been spotted near the park’s ‘beach’ area and cafe.
Some are queryig whether the poisoning could have been done diliberately by lacing sausages with a toxin.
Horsham District Council, which is responsible for the park, said that it used only non-poisonous bait to control rats in the area. And, it said, it had not received any reported sightings of rats over the past three months.
A spokeswoman said: “We are extremely sorry to hear about the circumstances surrounding this Southwater resident’s dog.
“We can however reassure local residents and Southwater Country Park users that only non-toxic monitoring bait has been used in the park.
“We do not therefore have any reason to believe that these circumstances are connected.
“We do our utmost to address any problems with vermin in the park, by using a professional pest control contractor who uses only designated bait boxes and approved methods.
“We regularly monitor the park site for evidence of rats and have had no reported sightings over the past three months.
“As we head towards the warmer weather, we would ask all our visitors to help us keep the park clean and rat free by disposing of all their litter appropriately or taking it home with them.
“All dogs should now be on a lead within the park and we would ask that if anyone sees anything that causes them concern to their dog’s health that they report this via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.”