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Dog injured by fish hook on Hampstead Heath

PUBLISHED: 16:49 13 November 2008 | UPDATED: 15:36 07 September 2010

Heather Dodge with Ella

Heather Dodge with Ella

A DOG who fell for the bait hook, line and sinker has managed to cheat death – by the skin of her tongue. When 20-month-old retriever Ella took a dip in the Vale of Health s pond on Hampstead Heath, she did not bargain on encountering an illegal three-pro

A DOG who fell for the bait hook, line and sinker has managed to cheat death - by the skin of her tongue.

When 20-month-old retriever Ella took a dip in the Vale of Health's pond on Hampstead Heath, she did not bargain on encountering an illegal three-pronged fishing hook.

The gruelling encounter left the barbed hook, used by poachers, embedded in the dog's tongue. A vet later used wire cutters to remove the hook, which could have been lethal if swallowed.

"There was so much blood around, I was in floods of tears," said owner Heather Dodge, 48.

"Two dog walkers helped me hold her mouth open for 40 minutes so she wouldn't swallow the hook. It was terrible. The people who did this are positively barbaric. I feel so angry.

"She was hooked by a barbarous three-pronged barbed fish hook attached to a lure with another barbed fish hook - each about three to four inches long."

The hook and bait appeared to have come from a line that had been cut and left in the water. Park rangers told Heather that the hook used was illegal, and that the use of such hooks could have been the work of poachers.

Ms Dodge, from Willesden Green, said: "The hook went through her tongue and we were unable to disentangle it.

"Several dog walkers tried to come to my aid and we spent almost an hour beside the pond. In the end two Heath rangers, Richard and Danny, came to our rescue. They took us to the vet at Zasman vets in Hampstead, went to get wire cutters and helped the vet and I with the dog. The rangers were fantastic."

Caryn Gibbins, veterinary surgeon at Zasman vets, said: "It was a gruelling experience for the dog. I think having a hook stuck through your tongue for half an hour is pretty unpleasant. She had to be sedated."

A City of London Corporation spokeswoman said: "The use of barbed and bent fishing hooks is forbidden on Hampstead Heath. Heath staff would take action against anyone caught using such illegal equipment.


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