“I am so heartbroken”- Sheffield animal-lover’s disbelief as EIGHT of her pets die in 48 hours

One of the three rabbits that died this week
One of the three rabbits that died this week
Have your say

An animal biologist from Sheffield fears that someone has poisoned her pets after she found her guinea pig, three rabbits and four chickens dead in her garden.


One of the four chickens that Chloe found dead in her garden

One of the four chickens that Chloe found dead in her garden

Chloe Jaye Atkin, aged 22, who lives with her parents and eight-year-old sister in Stannington, found Barbie the guinea pig and Bobtail the rabbit dead in her garden on Tuesday.

Although she was upset Chloe said that since both of the animals were old she was not suspicious that they had died.

But she started to worry when, on Wednesday, ‘the other animals started looking a bit funny’.

Less than a day after burying the first two animals Chloe found that six more of her pets had died - two rabbits and four chickens.

Chloe buried the Barbie the guinea pig and Bobtail the rabbit on Tuesday

Chloe buried the Barbie the guinea pig and Bobtail the rabbit on Tuesday

The Nottingham University Animal Biology graduate said: “It wasn’t a natural cause of death.”

She added that the deaths could not have resulted from the pets’ food.

“The only thing they share is the grass and the garden. They didn’t have the same diet.”

Chloe believes somebody may be using pesticides in a nearby garden which could have been accidentally ingested by her animals.

Four of Chloe's dead pets

Four of Chloe's dead pets

But she also fears that someone could have been acting ‘maliciously’.

Three other families in the Stannington area have had to have their dogs put down in suspicious circumstances in recent weeks, according to Chloe.

She said: “I hate to think that somebody has intentionally done it. It is making my blood boil.”

Chloe has been asking neighbours if anyone has been using pesticides as well as putting up signs to warn fellow animal owners to keep an eye on the health of their pets.

Chloe's dead pets

Chloe's dead pets

The RSPCA told Chloe they cannot do anything to help.

The animal charity said: "The lady was advised to contact the vets for examination to see what the cause of death was and get back in touch.

"As a charity, the RSPCA has one inspector for every 110,000 people in England and Wales - this compares to one police officer for every 377 members of the public.

"We get 1.4 million calls a year, so one every 22 seconds."

On their website the RSPCA advises people not to ‘watch and wait’ if they think their pets have been poisoned, and to take the animal straight to the vet.

A local vet has quoted Chloe £600 to do a post mortem but she says she ‘cannot justify’ spending so much money.

South Yorkshire Police advised Chloe to set up cameras in her garden to capture any suspicious behaviour.

This is not the first time Stannington residents have feared a local pet poisoner. Four years ago police told people to avoid walking their dogs in Stannington Park after four dogs died in suspicious circumstances.

Earlier this year Sheffield dog owners were warned to be vigilant after poisoned dog treats were thrown into a garden in Shiregreen.

South Yorkshire Police said: “A report of animal welfare was made at round 4.35pm yesterday afternoon (Wednesday, 19 October) at an address in the Stannington area. Officers are making enquiries and would ask anyone with information to contact 101 quoting incident number 883 of 19 October 2016."