Balbriggan cat died of rat poisoning the same week the HSE ‘provided pest control services’

A Balbriggan woman has launched an online petition for stricter laws on rat poisoning to reduce accidental animal deaths.

Kate Coscoran’s eight-month-old kitten died in Pepper in early November from secondary rat poisoning.

HSE was providing Pest Control Services in the area during that time.

She is calling for more regulations around the use of rat poison and wants people to be informed if it is put out in their residential area.

Kate told Dublin Live about the horrific death her beloved cat suffered after she was poisoned.

She said: “In early November my kitten came home and he wasn’t feeling well, so I called the emergency vets in the emergency department.

“He had stopped eating and was very tired. I put him in and they checked him out.

“They said it could be a few different things. They said ‘leave him with us, go home, we’ll watch him and do blood tests’.”

“By the time we got home, they called us and said that after it had taken a turn for the worse, you better come back to him.

“By the time we got there, he had already passed away. They said it was almost certainly rat poisoning, and sometimes with rat poisoning by the time they noticed symptoms it was too late to do anything about it.”

“Because it hit him all of a sudden and it caused terrible internal bleeding, it is very difficult to save them.”

Kate began researching rat poisoning laws to see what regulations were in place.

She said, “I was absolutely shocked. I said, ‘Is this legal? Are people allowed to take out rat poison?'”

“I kind of assumed it would be a little more watchful than that.

“People are supposed to put it in the tamper proof boxes, but that’s not enforced at all, it’s just written on the box.

“And then I called HSE as well and they told me they could get rid of rat poison. They don’t need to tell anyone that they did.”

Dublin Live asked HSE if they put rat poison in the Balbriggan area during the first week of November, the week Kate’s Pepper cat died.

Kate Pepper’s cat and Alfie’s dog

They confirmed that they provided a “pest control service”.

The spokesperson said: “HSE introduced a pest control service in the Greater Balbriggan area in early November 2021.

“All HSE Pest Control Service treatments are performed in accordance with Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine requirements and in line with best practice requirements for the safe use of rodenticides.

“The HSE personnel providing such pest control treatments are trained to specific standards and each is registered with the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine.

“Rodent control in this area may also have been carried out by private contractors, individuals or other agencies.”

Pepper wasn’t the only pet that died of rat poisoning in Balbergan that week.

Kate said: “I posted about it in a local Balbriggan group telling people to watch their animals, and another person said their little dog also died of rat poison three days later, in the same area.

“My goal is to protect other innocent animals from this cruel fate and prevent any more unnecessary and avoidable tragedies.”

Kate launched an online petition asking the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Seas to pass stricter legislation on rat poison.


1- Only trained professionals have access to rat poisons.

“2. These trained professionals must be subject to regulations that are actually enforced – with inspections, fines and loss of licenses for not following these laws.

“3. It should be avoided in residential areas unless as a last resort, in which case all neighbors should be personally informed of its use in advance, so that they can take precautions to protect pets and children.

4 – It should not be used in open areas (even in bait boxes) to reduce the risk of poisoning to birds, foxes and other wildlife.

5- Boxes of rat poisoned baits must be clearly marked as a danger to both primary and secondary fatal poisoning to all animals.

Dublin Life has contacted the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine for comment.

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