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HomeIssue 5Four dogs suspected poisoned with 1080

Four dogs suspected poisoned with 1080

2567 dog baiter OKBy ERWIN CHLANDA
“It’s hard to imagine there is not a connection” between four dogs which had symptoms consistent with 1080 poisoning over about two months, including two last Sunday, says Debbie Osborne, of the Alice Springs Veterinary Hospital.
Three of them died.
Dr Osborne says no tests were made to confirm that the strictly controlled poison was present. It is normally used to control feral dogs on cattle stations.
The compound decomposes very quickly. The only way to do the test is to obtain the stomach content immediately and freeze it.
The symptoms are violent seizures.
The poisoned animals came from throughout the town, and so far there seems to be no location pattern.
One was poisoned on the Santa Teresa Road near the airport, and another, being walked in the Todd River.
The animal that was saved had to be given intensive care over a 24 hour period.
Police have told Dr Osborne that they could take action only if they received a complaint from a dog owner.
In 2014 four dogs were suspected to have been baited in Petrick and Chateau Roads.
In the 1970s and early ’80s dozens of dogs were baited in Alice Springs and the perpetrator was never found.
Meanwhile, the “Stop the use of 1080 poison campaign” in Menangle, NSW, (pictured at top) says 1080 is lethal and there is no antidote.
The campaign’s website states poisoned meat can be eaten by non-target animals such as lizards, snakes, birds, quolls, dingoes, dogs and cats.
“Animals can die of primary poisoning and secondary poisoning from eating the remains of other animals. This secondary baiting can go on for up to eight months.
“Baits and carcasses of baited animals can be moved by birds and other scavengers. Even if you do not agree to put bait on your property you will be affected.
“Death in some species can take up to two days during which time they will suffer seizures, vomitting, loss of bladder control and extreme distress.
“It takes only 100 milligrams of 1080 to kill an adult person.”


  1. The Dog Baiter operated in Alice Springs from at least 1947 onwards until petering out in the mid 1980s, according to frequent reports in the Centralian Advocate. The poison used was strychnine, not 1080 (a fluoroacetate compound, quite common in a number of native plant species including Georgina gidgee).
    Whoever was responsible for poisoning dozens, if not hundreds, of dogs in Alice Springs during those decades was never identified or caught.

  2. The strychnined-monte carlo cream bikkie tosser from the Ghan driver-passenger window strikes again! Or is it Son of Ghan this time?

  3. What about humans who come into contact with the poisoned animals – young kids who touch them then put their fingers in their mouths or touch a meal afterwards without washing their hands.
    Can this poison be absorbed through the skin?
    What if a child’s pet is poisoned and the kid insists on holding it – especially if adults are not around or watching closely?

  4. I’d say this is definitely premeditated.
    There was a heap of 1080 stolen in May from a pastoralist’s property in Alice.
    I originally thought that kids were baiting dogs at properties that they were interested in breaking in to. Now I think they are just doing it for fun.

  5. On the one hand “stop the use of 1080 poison” tells us that the poison can be passed on in carrion for up to eight months, and on the other the vet tells us it breaks down so quickly that stomach contents must be frozen to get samples to southern labs?

  6. Yes Bev, 1080 can be absorbed through the skin.1080 poison is NOT the same compound as the fluoroacetate found in plants.

  7. @ Ruth Weston (Posted September 7, 2018 at 1:08 pm): Sodium fluoroacetate is the commercially produced 1080 poison, and is closely related to potassium fluoroacetate, the poisonous chemical found in a wide variety of plant species.
    Both chemicals have the same effect, disrupting the Krebs Cycle (or Citric Acid Cycle) which disrupts the ability of cells to metabolise carbohydrates, fats and proteins for energy production.
    It was biochemist Ray Murray, based in Alice Springs with the Animal Industry Branch from 1954 to 1966, who first identified the naturally occurring 1080-based compound that occurs sporadically in poison Gidgee (Acacia georginae) which plagued the beef cattle industry in the east of Central Australia and across the Queensland border.


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