Each year thousands of dogs, cats and wild animals in Lazio die from eating poisoned baits. These are deliberately planted in the countryside, public parks, streets, private gardens and even apartment block yards.

Many different baits are used, such as various cuts of meat, fish fingers, cheese and even tennis balls. They are sometimes peppered with nails or pins as well as a variety of harmful substances ranging from anti-freeze liquid and pesticides to cyanide and strychnine. There is danger therefore not only for pets and wild animals but also for small children who may inadvertently handle or eat the baits.

The province of Rome is now running an information campaign in schools, veterinary surgeries and animal protection associations to raise public awareness of the dangers

Anyone seeking advice on how to deal with suspected baits or how best to treat a pet that may have eaten bait, may telephone the Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale, Via Appia 1411, (near Ciampino), at the number above. Owners can also receive advice on the appropriate legal steps to take should their pet die as a result of deliberate poisoning. Planting poisoned baits, injuring and causing the death of animals is illegal and the guilty can face a prison sentence of up to three years, or a fine of up to

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