A POPULAR dog walk was nearly cancelled amid fears of dogs across the city being poisoned.

The 32nd tri-annual Westie Walk took place at Preston Park, Brighton, on Sunday, but numbers were down after organisers warned attendees of the spate of suspected poisoning incidents linked to the death of a number of dogs.

It is not yet clear if the dogs were deliberately poisoned, but the day’s organiser Maura Toner was not going to take any chances.

She said: “I spent a lot of time researching it and myself and a couple of friends went down early to inform everybody who turned up what the situation was.

“We were very careful and kept the dogs on the lead as well as sticking to the paths apart from when we had the photo taken.

“It’s really surprising that this sort of thing is going on, and a lot of people didn’t know about it either, which is quite concerning.

“We didn’t use the word cancel, but we put a warning out and assumed a lot of people wouldn’t come.”

Despite the fears, 15 Westies (plus a boxer and a Jack Russell) showed up for a walk around the park, and Ms Toner said the atmosphere of the event, now in its 11th year, was as good as ever.

She added: “People come from all over to be a part of it and we’ve had Westies come from Birmingham, Salisbury, London, Surrey, Kent all wanting to come down.

“It’s the dogs who make the introduction, and then people are busy chattering away before you know it.

“It’s a simple meet up with no agenda and the common denominator is that we are all there with the same breed of dog.

“And because they’re so distinctive, it makes for quite a show and people are always stopping and chatting and taking photos.”

The group meet on the first Sunday of January, April and September at midday in Preston Park.

For more information, visit facebook.com/brightonwestie


Dogwatch releases park details

THE Argus reported last month how up to five dogs are thought to have died from poisoning.

Brighton Dogwatch have released a map of the city’s parks they believe to have been affected by the recent spate of poisonings.

The latest case is an English bulldog who died over the Easter weekend after being out in the Vale Park area.

The parks are:

  • Greenleas 
  • Vale Park 
  • Southwick Hill 
  • Wish Park 
  • Hove Recreation Ground 
  • Easthill Park 
  • Cobden Road 
  • Preston Park 
  • St Ann’s Well Gardens

To view the map, go to Brighton Dogwatch Facebook page.

Dog owners can report incidents to the Wildlife Investigation Scheme on 0800 321600.