Complaints about animal poisoning in Derbyshire have jumped by nearly 40 per cent, shock figures show.
Last year, the RSPCA received 30 poisoning complaints from concerned members of the public across the county – up from 22 in 2012.
The shock data was revealed as the RSPCA warned owners about accidentally poisoning their pets by giving them harmful treats, such as chocolate, over Easter.
It is a criminal offence to intentionally administer a poison to an animal. However, some people may be giving their pets harmful substances without realising they could be dangerous.
James Yates, the charity’s chief veterinary officer, said it was worrying to see a rise in complaints – but he stressed that many accidental poisonings could be avoided if people are more aware of the dangers around their home.
He said: “Chocolate poisoning is one of the most commonly reported types of animal poisoning, so Easter is the ideal time to remind people of the hazards around their home that could accidentally poison their pets.
“Easter eggs are a tasty treat for many of us, but a hefty vet’s bill won’t be quite so easy to swallow if your pet ends up wolfing them down before you.
“It isn’t just chocolate that is dangerous for animals, though. For example, did you know that rhubarb is poisonous to rabbits or that grapes could kill your ferret?
“There are so many hidden dangers to animals around the home and we want owners to do their homework and keep their pets safe and healthy.”
Owners can find out more by visiting the RSPCA’s poisoning advice pages at www.rspca.org.uk/poisoning
Anybody who wants to report a suspected deliberate animal poisoning can call the RSPCA’s 24-hour cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.