Worthing dog owner’s warning after pet dies suddenly on beach

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A distraught mother-to-be has warned dog walkers to be vigilant after her pet died on Worthing Beach.

Kelly Pretty, of Selden Road, Worthing, got Krystal ready for a walk with her neighbour. Little did she know it would be the last time she saw her eight-year-old companion alive.

The 27-year-old, who is 13 weeks pregnant, said: “She was my best friend and she had always been there for me unconditionally. She was like a child to me.” She added: “It has been really hard. The only thing giving me peace is that I think she will be going into the baby.”

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On January 31, the day the incident happened, Kelly said Krystal was behaving as normal before her walk.

Krystal, an eight-year-old cross breed , died on Worthing BeachKrystal, an eight-year-old cross breed , died on Worthing Beach
Krystal, an eight-year-old cross breed , died on Worthing Beach | User (UGC)

Her neighbour picked her up at 7.30pm, but twenty minutes later Kelly heard someone banging at her door. He was back, but Krystal was nowhere to be seen.

“He kept saying: ‘she’s collapsed, she’s going to die’”, Kelly said.

During the walk, Krystal had suddenly collapsed on a stretch of beach opposite Selden Road and started convulsing. When they got there, she was still breathing and her eyes were open, so Kelly began giving her mouth-to-mouth.

Sadly she did not recover.

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Kelly Pretty from Selden Road, Worthing, with her dog KrystalKelly Pretty from Selden Road, Worthing, with her dog Krystal
Kelly Pretty from Selden Road, Worthing, with her dog Krystal | User (UGC)

Kelly said that Krystal had a reputation for eating things on dog walks, and feared she may have consumed palm oil: a waxy substance known to wash up on beaches which is toxic to dogs.

Worthing Borough Council confirmed palm oil deposits, ‘some the size of small footballs’, were found the day after Krystal died.

A spokesman said: “Our Beach Office team were alerted and immediately began to collect deposits for disposal and continued to keep the situation under review.

“A further inspection of the beach from Ferring down to Brooklands confirmed all remaining traces were washed out by the tide.”

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Kelly said to dog walkers: “Just be careful what your dog is eating, and be really careful when they are off the lead.”

The RSPCA said: “This is very sad to hear and our heart goes out to the dog owner.

“We would urge local pet owners to be extra cautious when out walking their dogs and it may be best to avoid areas where there have been reports of suspected poisoning. If anyone suspects that their pet has been poisoned they should seek urgent veterinary advice.

“Dogs can be very motivated to eat food they find on the ground. To help prevent poisoning we would advise that dog owners make sure their dogs have a good recall so can be called back should you have any concerns about what they are approaching. It can also be very helpful to teach your dog to ‘leave’ or ‘drop’ items so that you can ensure they willingly give up anything which you have concerns about them eating.

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“Every year, the RSPCA gets hundreds of calls about animals who are believed to have been poisoned, both accidentally and deliberately.

“Many different substances can poison pets so it is beneficial for pet owners to be aware of the signs of poisoning so they can ensure they take their animals to a vet immediately.

“Signs of poisoning can vary depending on what the dog has eaten but may include one, or several of the following: vomiting, seeming depressed or sleepy, appearing drunk and uncoordinated, seizures, difficulty breathing, diarrhoea, high temperature and dehydration.

“If you suspect that your pet has been poisoned you must take it to a vet immediately. If possible, you should take a sample of what they have eaten/drunk, or the container.

“For information on how to detect poisoning log onto www.rspca.org.uk/poisoning.”