Collie 'poisoned' during walk along canal bank on Limerick-Clare border

Gardai investigating possible 'strychnine poisoning' case in Clonlara

Fintan Walsh


Fintan Walsh

Collie 'poisoned' during walk along canal bank on Limerick-Clare border

Suki the dog, who consumed the toxic substance

ARDNACRUSHA gardai are investigating the alleged poisoning of a rescue dog, after it consumed a toxic substance along a “picturesque walk” in Clonlara.

Last Thursday evening, Dr Ioannis Zabetakis, a lecturer in Biological Sciences at UL, took his two dogs, Suki and Cyrus, for a 20-minute walk along the old canal in Clonlara. 

After feeding the two dogs their evening meal, the Greek national who moved to Ireland in 2015, noticed “something wrong” when Suki — a Lassie Collie — started excreting saliva and was unable to walk properly.

He and his wife then drove to the vets in Killaloe. However, halfway through their emergency journey, Suki had died.

“My wife had put Suki in the car. But by that time, Suki then started having seizures. I was driving, and my wife was in the back seat, stroking Suki as she was in the boot lying down. But halfway through to Killaloe, she had a very long seizure, and she died. She died before arriving at the vet. Overall, that was less than hour since taking Suki for a walk.”

Suki was an abandoned dog when Dr Zabetakis picked her up in Athens, six years ago. And when he was called to work in UL, he put his two furry friends in the car, and drove from Greece to his new home in Clonlara.

According to a garda source, after investigations the following evening, the vet said that it was “a poisoning”.

Dr Zabetakis, who was previously a lecturer at the University of Athens, said: “99%, according to their opinion, which is what we said to the police, that it was strychnine poisoning, because of the rigor mortis. Suki’s body was so stiff, you couldn’t bend her front leg, and that is characteristic of strychnine poisoning.”

He told the Leader that if Suki was poisoned in the area, “the problem could still be there”, and is calling on families in the area to be cautious.

In September, gardaí issued a warning to pet owners to be vigilant when walking anywhere between Ardnacrusha and Clonlara Bridges, following a number of reported dog poisonings.