'Incredibly sad and shocked' - Family react as beloved Bella dies after eating poison

border collie dog in garden

Bella, the seven-year-old Border Collie, died after consuming poison during a dog walk in Stevenage on January, 2. - Credit: Archant

A family from Stevenage has shared a tribute alongside important advice to fellow dogwalkers, after their beloved family pet died after eating poison on a walk earlier this week.

Bella, the seven-year-old Border Collie, sadly had to be put down in tragic circumstances at the weekend.

At around 12pm on Saturday, January 2, owner Sinead McElroy's father took Bella out for a stroll from her home in Pin Green.

They took their customary route, passing St Nicholas Church in Rectory Lane, before heading around the fields at the back towards Forster Country.

Bella went on a second walk with Sinead's dad and brother later that afternoon, at around 3pm on the green near Trafford Close. The family say Bella was "her usual self", and at this point was showing no signs of ill health.

But later that evening, Sinead started to realise something was wrong. 

border collie dog tongue out

Sinead described the shocking death of her family's beloved dog Bella as "absolutely devastating". - Credit: Archant

Bella hadn't eaten her dinner, and was lying by the back door when she was sick and had diarrhoea. The family noticed that her food hadn't properly digested from the food she had at lunch.

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By 8pm that evening, Bella was shaking. She had lost control of her bladder, her breaths were quicker and she was drooling. An emergency vet was quickly called, and they asked Bella to be brought in.

By the time she arrived at the vets, Bella's temperature was at 41 and she had started bleeding. The vet scanned her stomach, but found no obstruction or tumour. 

The family then had to make the difficult decision to put Bella to sleep as she was in such pain - an experience Sinead described as "absolutely devastating".

"It was devastating to see our much loved, happy and active dog suffer such an excruciating death. We're incredibly sad and shocked at losing her so suddenly and she will be missed by the whole family."

The vet decreed Bella's death was the result of poisoning. Sinead says it would be "highly unlikely" that Bella would eat a poisonous plant, as she has never eaten plants before.

"I assume she has either eaten poison that has been carelessly laid down for rats or someone has done this maliciously for dogs or other animals to eat," Sinead adds.

"Unfortunately this is something we will never know for sure."

Sinead contacted Stevenage Borough Council's environmental services team to alert them, and has offered some helpful advice to try and help fellow dog owners avoid a similar fate.

"I would advise them to be vigilant wherever you’re walking your dog. 

"If you suspect your dog has eaten something on a walk keep an eye on them, know the symptoms of poisoning, and if they do display symptoms get advice from your vet straight away."

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