By Tate Papworth
Pet owners are being urged to exercise vigilance with rabbit baiting commencing at a number of parks from this week.
The council will be using the poison Pindone on carrots at Green Gully Reserve in Keilor Downs and Taylors Creek between Green Gully Road and Burrowye Crescent, Keilor.
Baiting will be conducted until Monday, March 30.
Animal Referral Hospital in Essendon took to its Facebook page to warn pet owners to keep their dogs on a leash.
“All pets not closely monitored (e.g. not on a lead) are at risk of poisoning by either ingesting large quantities of the bait or the carcasses of deceased rabbits,” the post said.
Pindone is a similar poison to rat bait. It prevents normal blood clotting resulting in haemorrhaging throughout the body.
While designed to be fatal, there is an antidote.
“If you are concerned at all please see your own vet ASAP,” the Facebook post said.
“Vets in the Brimbank and surrounding areas are aware of the program and have been advised re the Vitamin K1 antidote.”
Symptoms of poisoning include lethargy, increased respiratory rate and effort, pale gums, weakness and bleeding into the gastrointestinal tract.
The council said the baiting program is part of a greater obligation to keep the local environment clear of feral animals.
In February last year, more than 100 residents signed a petition calling on the state government to act on the feral rabbit problem at the Parks Victoria-operated Brimbank Park and Horseshoe Bend Farm.
Residents said there was an urgent need to address severe erosion and land degradation of the parks due to the ever-increasing rabbit population.
They asked the government to instruct Parks Victoria to assess their management strategy for the issue and to develop a permanent and integrated plan to achieve long-term effective and humane eradication.
Late last year Star Weekly revealed the once prominent farm had fallen into a state of disrepair, home to dilapidated buildings, thousands of thistle weeds and plagued by rabbits.