The incident happened in the Tanat Valley near Llangynog. Photo: Dave Kirk CC-BY-SA-2.0

The incident happened in the Tanat Valley near Llangynog. Photo: Dave Kirk CC-BY-SA-2.0

Police fear someone is targeting birds of prey in mid-Wales after an incident in which a dog died from poisoning.

Tests revealed the cause of death was the banned pesticide Aldicarb, which has been used illegally to kill birds of prey on other parts of the UK.

Dyfed-Powys Police is working with the Welsh Government’s natural environment and agriculture team in investigating the incident, and is appealing for information to help catch the perpetrator.

A police spokesperson said a Llangynog man was walking his dogs in a forestry area in the Tanat Valley, west of Llangynog, on 1 May when one of them suddenly became ill and died within minutes. The incident was reported to Neat, the department that has responsibility for wildlife management in Wales and in particular investigating incidents of wildlife poisoning.

The spokesperson said: “A post-mortem [examination] of the dog and laboratory analysis of the tissues showed that the animal had been poisoned by a substance called Aldicarb.

“Evidence showed that the dog had ingested the remains of a black feathered bird, which was suspected of having the poison on it.

“Aldicarb is a pesticide, which was commonly used on potato crops until it was banned in 2007. Aldicarb is known to have been used illegally to target wildlife, in particular birds of prey, in other parts of the UK.

“It is not known at this time what species of bird was found in the dog’s stomach. However further tests may reveal its identity.”

Sergeant Matthew Howells, a wildlife crime liaison officer for Dyfed-Powys Police, said he is concerned that someone is targeting wildlife and setting down poison baits with an aim to kill birds of prey.

He said: “In March 2013, Neat had a similar report of poisoning when another local resident saw a dead red kite on a footpath in the area. Post-mortem results from that incident also tested positive for Aldicarb.

“Although this incident happened 12 months ago and was about a mile away, we believe that these two incidents are connected and that someone in the area is targeting wildlife, in particular birds of prey.

“However, the indiscriminate nature of such a poison and its illegal use poses a significant risk of death to other creatures. Also there is an increased risk of the pesticide coming into contact with humans.

“The Tanat Valley in this area is very attractive for local residents to walk their dogs. Children and their parents on such walks are also at risk of serious illness should they come into contact with the substance.

“In the interest of safety if anyone comes across any dead birds or other wildlife in the countryside then do not touch them but contact the police if you suspect foul play.”

Police are asking anyone with old stocks of the pesticide on their farms to contact their farming union and seek advice on the safe disposal of it.

Anyone who has information on any person who has access to the substance or where and how it is being used illegally is asked to contact Dyfed Powys Police on 101 and ask for the information to be passed on to Sergeant Howells or alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.