Up to eight cats poisoned by anti-freeze

By Kieran Hughes

A distraught Newtownabbey pet owner fears local children are at risk of serious harm after two of her pets were killed by suspected anti-freeze poisoning last month. Two of Julie Blair’s cats have died in the last month and one has been tested positive for anti-freeze. Shockingly police say that up to eight cats may have been poisoned in the Hydepark Manor area in the past month and are trying to establish if the deaths are deliberate.

The 39-year-old, who owns four cats, was distraught when she found her cat Panzer dead in their garage on Friday, March 23. However it was only when 10-month-old Puces fell ill over the same weekend that she became concerned that they may have been poisoned. She brought Puces to the vet on Sunday, March 25 but his kidneys were so badly damaged he had to be euthanized on the Monday night.

Julie paid for a post-mortem that confirmed the presence of anti-freeze.

“I was distraught, I love cats and I just want to give them a decent home. They are all wee waifs and strays that I take in and we should have had Puces for 20 years.”

Julie, who believes the deaths are malicious, says she now fears that young children living in the area are at risk of coming into contact with the anti-freeze.

“It is really idyllic up here, little children walk about and play in the streets all the time but I am now worried that they might pick something up. It doesn’t bear thinking about if children had come in contact with the anti-freeze and swallowed it.”

The distraught pet owner now says she is reluctant to get more cats.

“We can’t get any more, we are too scared in case anything happens to them. It’s cost about £500 in vets fees, but that doesn’t matter to me, I would pay double that to get them both back today.”

Another Hydepark Manor resident Kirsty Gault told how her five-year-old cat Misty became ill in early march.

“It took Misty a while to get back to normal but he is afraid to go out of the house now. It’s very worrying to think that someone could be poisoning our cats,” she said.

“They don’t care and they don’t realise that these are someone’s beloved pets.”

Police in Newtownabbey have appealed for the public’s help while they investigate.

“Officers have been made aware that between four and six cats may have been poisoned in Hydepark Manor in mid-March resulting in the death of one, with another two reportedly killed by poison last week,” said a PSNI spokeswoman.

“Officers are keen to establish if the suspected poisonings are deliberate and are appealing for information. They can be contacted on 0845 600 8000.”

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