Dogs killed by discarded puffer fish

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Three dogs have died after eating puffer fish discarded by anglers at a beach in South Australia.

Dog walkers on Seacliff beach are being warned to keep their dogs away from dead fish and anglers are being asked to bin unwanted puffer fish instead of throwing them back into the sea.

At least three dogs have died and two others have had to be rushed to the vets for treatment in the last six months.

Local dog walker Tony Souter told the Guardian Messenger: "We need to get the message across for people to be responsible for their actions and that they’re harming our dogs.

"I look for (puffer fish) every morning ... and there’s a group of us that pick them up and put them in our poo bags."

Sue Blethyn, of Marino, said her Weimaraner Harry died just over an hour after he ate part of a puffer fish last October.

"We were just doing a normal walk on the beach in the morning ... when Harry saw a very dead puffer fish lying on the beach and ran off with it," she said.

"It wasn’t until we got home that he was violently ill.

"For a great, big, strong dog like that to be dead over an hour later was a real shock, it was terrible."

Almost all puffer fish contain tetrodotoxin, a deadly substance that is 1200 times more poisonous than cyanide.

A spokesman for the SA Recreational Fishing Advisory Council said that puffers were a "nuisance" to fishermen in the area, and it was very difficult to get these fish off the hook, leading to anglers sometimes just cutting the line and dropping them back into the water. He added that they were probably unaware of the harm the discarded fish were doing to dogs.

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