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Warning after toxic palm oil washed up on Cumbrian beaches

Oil potentially deadly to dogs has been found on west Cumbrian beaches.

Kate Wilson photo
Kate Wilson

The Environment Agency has confirmed it is investigating reports of suspected palm oil found on the beach at Maryport and more discoveries along the coast are coming to light.

Kate Wilson’s dog Lewis fell ill hours after walking at Seascale on Saturday. And five days later, the English springer spaniel is still not back to his normal self.

Kate believes all of his symptoms mirror those from across the UK where other dogs have fallen victim to the deadly substance.

Kate, from St Bees, told the News & Star how she and her family became “extremely worried” about Lewis at the weekend. They took him to the vets, where he was treated for digestion problems.

Kate believes it was more serious than a bug, as a few of her friends’ dogs have also fallen ill after walking along the beach. The Environment Agency confirmed they were looking into ‘solidified palm oil’ washed up at Maryport beach.

Mrs Wilson, 45, said Lewis was in real pain hours after his walk.

“His behaviour was strange – he tried to jump the garden wall which is unheard of and he was in a lot of discomfort, extremely sick and so distressed,” she said. “Every few minutes he was wanting to go to the toilet. It was awful – he just couldn’t settle.”

Palm oil – which is a waxy white substance used in cooking – has reportedly been found in other areas along the UK coast resulting in many dogs eating it and writhing in agony. In the worst cases, it has proved fatal.

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: “A member of the public has found an isolated lump of what is allegedly solidified palm oil washed up on Maryport beach. We will be working with the local authority to investigate this further and arrange for safe disposal. If members of the public find similar material on the beach they should report it to the local authority environmental health department.”

Kate now wants other dog owners to be cautious.

“I just want people to be aware,” she said. “We were very lucky with Lewis. He was extremely unwell and very stressed.”

Have your say

About 3 weeks ago we were on the beach all around Ravenglass and past the beached whale. Our dog was in and out of the sea and on the beach with no problems at all. I would like to think if it was still a problem this would have been announced on the local radio or TV news items.
We are going on the beach at Crosscanonby today but will still be vigilant.

Posted by Helen Hargreaves on 1 June 2014 at 10:40

Its obviously waste being thrown overboard...surely warnings against this practice should be issued to every foreign vessel that enters the port...probably wont stop them doing it but this has to be tackled...its pollution and very dangerous..

Posted by mrs w on 6 May 2014 at 09:01

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