Letchworth family 'devastated' by dog death caused by littering

PUBLISHED: 14:27 20 August 2018 | UPDATED: 14:32 20 August 2018

Rocket was tragically killed after impaling himself on a sharp metal object in Norton Common. Picture: Clive Whitear

Rocket was tragically killed after impaling himself on a sharp metal object in Norton Common. Picture: Clive Whitear

A Letchworth family have been left “devastated” after their six-year-old dog was fatally injured while out on a walk on Norton Common.

Dangerous litter left in Norton Common killed a family pet on Thursday. Picture: Clive WhitearDangerous litter left in Norton Common killed a family pet on Thursday. Picture: Clive Whitear

Clive Whitear and his family took their beloved lurcher Rocket for a stroll on Thursday evening, allowing him to enjoy himself off the lead, when he was fatally injured by dangerous litter.

Clive told the Comet: “Rocket was enjoying himself, running in and out of the bushes, when he suddenly let out a blood curdling scream.

“We rushed to see what had happened and discovered him unconscious in the bushes.

“I felt his heartbeat, but after two or three beats it stopped. I carried him out of the bushes and into the clearing, where it had become clear that he had died.

Clive found this scrap metal covered in Rocket's blood. Picture: Clive WhitearClive found this scrap metal covered in Rocket's blood. Picture: Clive Whitear

“Our family is devastated at the loss of our beautiful dog and totally in shock.”

Clive and his wife began to check Rocket over, and discovered a small hole in his chest.

After assuming that Rocket had impaled himself on the end of a sharp branch, Clive decided to go back to find it and break it down.

He instead found a long piece of scrap metal with a sharp pointed end close to where they had found Rocket.

“The last five or six inches of this spike were covered in Rocket’s blood, so this is what he impaled himself on. The poor lad didn’t stand a chance,” Clive added.

“It was found behind the gardens of the houses on Norton Way North, which is strewn with bits of old fences, chicken wire, rubble etc.

“This makes me so angry – it was a totally avoidable tragedy.

“Why do people think it’s acceptable to discard their trash on Norton Common? Put it in your bin. Take it to the tip. Hire a skip.

“This reckless behaviour has resulted in the death of a much-loved family pet. Next time it could be a child.”

On Friday morning, the family took Rocket to the Absent Friends Pet Crematorium in Hitchin.

Councillor Michael Weeks from North Herts District Council said: “We are terribly sorry to hear about the tragic accident that has lead to the death of Mr Whitear’s dog.

“Norton Common should be a safe place for people to spend time and walk their dogs, but unfortunately it is not always used in the most appropriate way.

“Although our grounds maintenance team carry out daily inspections at the site, occasionally waste materials are dumped without our knowledge.

“We will be arranging for our grounds service manager to meet Mr Whitear to show us where the accident occurred so we can ensure that any unsafe materials are quickly removed.”

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