A HEARTBROKEN couple whose beloved dog was killed by poison has endured a similar drama with another pet.

Atlas, a Rottweiler-cross, ate what is thought to have been rat poison during a walk along a public path at Falmer.

He survived but owner Christain Merritt is now scared to take him outside.

Christian and fiancee Denisa were distraught when their Staffordshire bull terrier Ellie died last month after eating poison.

The four-year-old picked it up during a walk in East Brighton park and suffered an agonising death.

The couple could hardly believe it when they discovered Atlas had eaten poison too.

Christian, who lives with Denisa in Hove, said: “Our dogs are like our children and we’re just so paranoid.

“We even changed where we walked after Ellie but now we don’t know where we can go.

“It’s just totally broken us.

“Ellie meant everything to Denisa and she still breaks down every day.”

He said he has been on alert ever since and was immediately suspicious when he saw a “weird pinkish substance” on the footpath as he walked Atlas and his other dog Beau near Ridge Road, Falmer, on Tuesday morning. He feared Beau, a doberman, had eaten some of it and rushed both dogs to the PDSA Hospital in Robertson Road, Brighton.

Vets checked both dogs and while Beau was all clear, Atlas was found to have a swallowed a large amount.

Luckily it was found in time and he has since recovered.

Christian said: “I think it might have been Rodex.”

The rat-killing poison is advertised online as the “strongest available”.

Rodex kills animals by thinning their blood.

Sky Yates, senior vet at Brighton PDSA, said: “Because Mr Merritt saw what happened and brought them straight to us, both dogs were still bright and alert.

“Rat poison thins the blood and causes internal bleeding, which can be fatal in as little as 24 hours.

“In order to prevent any further poison from entering their blood streams, we gave medication to make both dogs vomit. As a result we found a pink substance in Atlas’s sick. Both dogs were able to go home later that day.

“I’d advise owners to be vigilant in public places. If you suspect your pet has eaten a toxic substance, you should contact your vet immediately for advice. The earlier that treatment begins, the better the outcome is likely to be.”

Christian said the chemicals should be better controlled.

He said: “We want to see that these rat poisons are banned from sale –it’s people’s safety at stake.

“It sounds horrible but now we’re going to have to put muzzles on them and walk in Waterhall, purely on the basis that there are hundreds of dog walkers that go there so it gives us better odds.”

Charlie Jones, from Charlie Jones Pest Control in Brighton, has been dealing with poisons for more than 30 years and said there was no reason for the substance to have been left there.

He said: “This just shouldn’t happen. These poisons are far more toxic than they used to be, there are few restrictions in place and anyone can get hold of them.”