An alliance between dogs and humans against a barbaric and illegal practice
The use of poisoned baits is one of the most serious threats to the conservation of the wolf, but it also represents a risk for many other wild species as well as for companion animals, such as dogs and cats, which could inadvertently become victims. For this reason, in Lombardy – as in other areas of the LIFE WolfAlps EU Project – the establishment of Anti-poison Dog Units has been planned. In particular, the Anti-poison Dog Units currently foreseen in Lombardy are two: one is managed directly by the Comando Unità Forestali, Ambientali e Agroalimentari dell’Arma dei Carabinieri/Comando Regione Lombardia, the other is the result of an ad hoc collaboration between Regione Lombardia and the Provincial Police of Brescia, project supporter.
After a training course, which included a meeting at the Parco dei Colli di Bergamo organised by the CUFAA on 1 March, the Units are already operational in the area.
On 3 March, after residents reported the presence of ‘bait baits’, the green areas of Gardone Valtrompia, in the Brescia area, were cleared by the Anti-poison Dog Unit, the result of collaboration between the Brescia Provincial Police and the Lombardy Region. The Gardone officers were joined by Sole, a male drahtaar (a German breed of hard-coated stationary dog), trained to detect bait, and his handler Paolo Tavelli, a Provincial Police officer. The intervention led to the recovery of several pieces of meat, probably stuffed with poison (the findings are now being examined by the Zooprophylactic Institute of Brescia), the prompt collection of potentially dangerous material and the start of investigations which, in less than a week, made it possible to identify and report a resident. Fortunately, the investigations revealed that only one dog had ingested toxic substances: having undergone veterinary treatment, it did not suffer any serious consequences.
For more information on APDUs, click here.