A couple whose cherished ‘gentle giant’ pet dog died an agonising death fear that he was deliberately poisoned.
Now Dave Thurbin, 58, and his wife, Carole, 54, want to warn other pet owners to be on the alert.
“It was just tragic,” said Dave. “I don’t want anyone else to go through what we did.”
The horror unfolded when Dave let their pet German Shepherd Harvey out into the garden of their home in Regents Close, Broadfield, Crawley, at around 10pm on Friday. “I went to let him back in and he was chewing on something,” said Dave.
“I didn’t pay a lot of attention and he came upstairs with me, then he went all funny and started gulping and wouldn’t respond. He drank and drank water as if his throat was burning. He just went rapidly downhill.”
Dave and Carole desperately tried unsuccessfully to contact a number of vets - and watched helplessly as Harvey sadly died three hours later.
“The next morning I went out into the garden and was going to bury him in his favourite place when I found rat poison pellets. I think some mindless idiot baited a piece of meat or sausage and lobbed it into the garden.
“What happened to Harvey was horrific and I don’t want any other pet owners to go through this.”
He said there was a lack of emergency vets covering the Crawley area and he had spent hours scouring the internet for help.
Dave and Carole had had nine-year-old Harvey since he was a 12-week pup.
“He was a gentle giant - everyone loved him. He didn’t have a bad bone in his body,” said Dave, who is disabled after an accident while working at Gatwick.
“Everyone around here is just numb. They can’t believe what has happened.”
He called on fellow pet owners to check their gardens for any suspicious pellets.
And he paid thanks to his ‘fantastic neighbours’ who had rallied to help him and Carole since the tragedy.
“They gave us a lot of support and helped me wrap Harvey up and took him to Crawley Down for cremation. We had an amazing ceremony. I couldn’t believe their generosity.”
He said the neighbours had since installed surveillance equipment in the area.