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Family's grief after alleged dog poisoning in Portslade
A family is grieving after their dog was apparently poisoned on the South Downs.
What was supposed to be a nice weekend walk turned to tragedy for the Ellis family.
After returning from the trek near their Portslade home, their chocolate labrador Ollie developed jaundice and was taken to the vets.
The family spent nearly £3,000 on urgent treatment but vets were unable to save the four-year-old dog’s life.
People living nearby believe Ollie was victim to rat poison laid in the countryside.
Mother-of-two Becky Ellis, of Drove Crescent, Portslade, said: “It’s absolutely devastating. It was a tragedy that should not have happened.
“It may sound strange to those that don’t own dogs but he was my best friend. We did everything together.
“The first we knew about this was when we got back from the walk. We have found a fox on the Downs in the same condition.”
The animal was taken to the out-of-hours vet service at Grove Lodge in Worthing and Mrs Ellis said the experts said it looked like poisoning.
However this was not confirmed as she did not pay for a post-mortem.
She said: “He was in hospital for four days. We could have paid to find out what happened to him but we felt we had already paid out too much trying to save him.”
It is not the first time there have been reports of poisoning in that area of the South Downs.
In recent years there have been reports of foxes and badgers being found dead near the footpaths.
"There are a lot of dog walkers in the area who enjoy the countryside on their doorstep.
“The only thing I can think of is rat poison.”
Coun Carden said Sussex Police had been notified.
A spokeswoman for Adur District Council, which is partly responsible for the land at Southwick Hill, said: “We are sad to hear about the dog’s horrible death - losing a pet, especially in this way is very upsetting.
“We haven’t had news of other dogs being poisoned but we would ask any owner to monitor what their pets eat whilst outside and if they suspect anything then take them to the vet.”
A spokeswoman for the South Downs National Park Authority said that their role in such a situation would be to put anyone affected in touch with the appropriate authorities.