People warned to not dump garden waste on Dartmoor

Tuesday 4th June 2019 7:00 am

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A WARNING has been issued following yet another incident of fly-tipped garden waste on Dartmoor which can prove fatal to the native animals.

The fly-tipping incident at the airfield at Crapstone, near to the Leg O’Mutton, was discovered last Wednesday (May 22) by local resident Becky Taylor — and just in time as two ponies were already devouring the waste.

Becky had just dropped off her daughter to school in Buckland Monachorum when she made the discovery. As she has horses herself she was aware that grass cuttings could prove fatal as they ferment and cause the animals to get colic.

The woman, and her friend Joy Hancock, quickly collected the grass cuttings to prevent other animals eating the waste — and managed to collect ten full bags!

Becky said: ‘We saw this huge pile of grass cuttings so went and got some garden bags from the garage and picked it all up.

‘I don’t have the bags anymore but all the grass is now dumped safely on our muck heap at our stables.’

She added that it was probably someone trying to be kind and giving the animals ‘food’ but unfortunately did not know the risks.

Locals and visitors are now being warned of the dangers of eating garden waste can cause to Dartmoor animals.

Dartmoor Livestock Protection officer Karla McKechnie said: ‘Garden waste, mainly cuttings of privet, rhododendrons and grass, can prove fatal as they can ferment and the animals can get colic. The waste can give them a twisted gut and there is no coming back from that.’

Last year she said that there had been a few cases of colic.

‘Cut grass ferments and heats and although the ponies like to eat it, it can be fatal as it can cause colic. When a pony gets colic it causes acute abdominal pain and because of this the pony goes down and rolls. If they do this continually they can twist their gut which is fatal.

‘We need to stamp out anything that draws animals’ attention to the road sides,’ added Karla.

‘We need people to help and do what they can. Please do not dump your garden waste on the moor and do not feed the ponies at any time.’

If anyone witnesses any problems with livestock on Dartmoor at any time, call Karla on 07873 587561.

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