Four-legged ambassador falls victim to poisoner

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The Independent Online
Quick thinking by the wife of the Governor of Hong Kong saved the life of one of Britain's four-legged ambassadors to the colony when it became the latest victim of a serial poisoner.

While Lavender Patten (right) walked her dogs, Whisky and Soda, near the Governor's Residence, Whisky could not resist a piece of chicken left lying on the pavement. But the dog had failed to sniff out the truth - it had been covered in insecticide-type poison.

Moments later, the Norfolk terrier began to behave strangely, and Mrs Patten, remembering that other Hong Kong pets had been victims of the so-called "Bowen Road Poisoner", rushed the tiny dog to the vet.

In a letter published in yesterday's South China Morning Post, Mrs Patten says it was thanks to the care of the vets that "when Whisky's small body tried to resist the effects of the poison, we were lucky. Thankfully Whisky survived the ordeal."

Mrs Patten added: "I am writing now because I feel I must warn other people not to take their dogs to these particular areas of Hong Kong island unless they are muzzled.

"Be considerate - and do not leave a mess behind to give people an excuse for taking such cruel and indiscriminate action against our pets."

Chris Patten and his wife have been fervent campaigners for the pressure group Passports for Pets, which aims to overturn Britain's strict quarantine laws.

When they leave Hong Kong in June, they are said to be considering living in the south of France for six months in the hope that the British laws will be relaxed, but aim eventually to bring the dogs back to London.

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