Dog has emergency surgery after eating fish hook
A man is warning pet owners to be vigilant after his dog swallowed a fishing hook while they were walking along a beach in Co Antrim.
Aidan McCloskey became worried when his wife spotted their three-year-old golden retriever Barney eating fishing line with hooks attached, causing him to bleed from his mouth, during a walk along Ballycastle beach last month.
Barney was taken to a vet, who confirmed that a large fish hook had become lodged in the dog's stomach.
Emergency surgery was required to remove it. Thankfully, the operation was a success and Barney is recovering.
However, Mr McCloskey said yesterday that an "irresponsible fisherman" could have cost Barney his life.
"My wife Tracey and I were taking Barney for a walk like we do most evenings along the beach when we spotted him eating something," he recalled.
"My wife shouted at him to stop and when we looked down, we realised it was discarded fishing line, with hooks and bait attached.
"I didn't know what to do. I was down on my hands and knees trying to take the wire and hooks out of his mouth. He started to bleed.
"We got the line out and he seemed okay and was playing around, but we didn't know if he had swallowed something or not.
"The next morning we took him straight to Knockanboy Veterinary Clinic in Dervock and after an X-ray they could see a large hook in his stomach and had to operate straight away."
The surgery lasted around two hours and Barney was kept in for two days to recover.
Mr McCloskey added: 'Thankfully he's a young dog and he seems to be past the worst of it.
"People don't realise the damage they can do with something like this, it could have easily been a child. It was really traumatic for me, my wife and our children, who were all in tears.
"Thankfully everything has worked out okay, but this must act as a warning to fishermen to be much more careful and take home all of their gear." The USPCA described it as a "distressing and shocking situation" and urged those who fish to be "extra cautious".
"Most anglers are very responsible, but it only takes one careless person to endanger the life of an animal," the chairty said.
The warning comes after needles were discovered on the same stretch of beach earlier in the week, according to reports.
Local councillor Cara McShane said what happened had highlighted the very real concerns for all users of the beach at Ballycastle.
"These dangers are out there and I would appeal to anyone using the beach, and fishermen in particular, to ensure not to leave anything behind and please dispose of any unwanted equipment including fishing line and hooks responsibly," she said.
"The beach is a public space and should be enjoyed by everyone, particularly at this time of the year.
"I am working with council officers to promote Ballycastle as an environmentally friendly flagship town within the council area, and we all have a responsibility to ensure this beautiful area is here for generations to come."