Ruby’s ‘unnecessary, painful death’ sparks calls for beach safety

Ruby, a ten-year-old leonberger who sadly died after ingesting two fishing hooks on the beach Picture supplied by Colin Walker (37761476)

A DEVASTATED Islander whose dog suffered a “horrible and painful” death after eating discarded fishing hooks has urged anglers not to leave dangerous tackle on the beach.

Colin Walker said his “beloved” ten-year-old Leonberger, Ruby, became ill and died after ingesting the gear during a walk on Grouville beach.

Vets at Oak Farm in St Clement found the hooks embedded in her intestine, but despite “a huge effort” could not save her.

Mr Walker has urged fishermen to help prevent similar deaths, citing the fisheries code of conduct, which states that discarded tackle and other rubbish must be binned or taken home for disposal.

He said that fishing gear was becoming “a major hazard”, particularly in Grouville, and that Ruby’s death had “come as a shock”.

“Despite huge effort by the Oak Farm vets there was no way they could save her. She obviously swallowed a tasty piece of bait on the beach, not realising the danger, and paid the price by dying a horrible painful and completely unnecessary death.”

He continued: “She was very friendly, very well behaved – she did like to sniff and look about in the seaweed, but most dogs do.”

He explained that it was “not an isolated incident”, adding: “We do often find lines, hooks, mesh and all sorts.

“Dogs, wild birds, and, of course, children’s’ bare feet are all at risk from such dangerous discarded tackle.”

Mr Walker added that fishing from the shoreline “seems to have grown in popularity in the last few years”.

Grouville Constable Mark Labey said that although fishermen could sometimes lose equipment, there was “no excuse” for dangerous items to be left on the beach.

He added: “Fish hooks are lethally sharp and the idea that they would be sticking out of the sand is not acceptable.”

He also noted that parishes across the Island were last year gifted “Community Beach Clean Boxes”, containing a variety of equipment – and guidance – for carrying out a successful beach clean.

Bay of Grouville. Picture: DAVID FERGUSON. (37761512)

JJ Gallagher, owner of pet search and recovery specialists R S Tracker, echoed Mr Labey’s comments, adding that “losing a dog is like losing your left hand”.

He continued: “There is an awful lot of discarded fishing gear.

“It [Ruby’s death] highlights that these things are on the beach,” he said, adding that tackle and other potentially hazardous items could also be brought in by the tide.

The fish hooks that were ingested by a dog who later died Picture supplied by Colin Walker (37761478)

“Anybody who walks the beach with dogs will see what is washed ashore.”

Commenting on the recent incident, Andy Farmer, of Littlefeet Environmental campaign group, said: “It’s yet another incentive to be responsible and think about how to keep our beaches clean.”

He questioned whether there were procedures – such as some form of reporting scheme – that could be put in place to help fishermen mitigate the impact of lost tackle or other equipment.

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