Puppy injured by overgrown weeds in Brighton

A PUPPY suffered an injured paw in overgrown barley grass after a shard lodged in her foot.

Alex Bateman, of Kipling Avenue, Woodingdean, has spent hundreds of pounds on vet bills for his nine-month-old pet Lily after the barley grass spear went straight through her paw and had to be surgically removed.

Vets said clumps of barley grass on the roads, which were once kept under control with weedkillers, are injuring dogs across Brighton and Hove.

Mr Bateman spoke after councilors debated how to solve the city-wide weed problem during a Brighton and Hove City Council meeting.

He said: “The main problem is the green verges. There’s a big clump of barley grass right in front of the house – and then it’s all down the road.

“There is no way around. The first thing dogs do when they come out is run into the grass for a bit. She has a pair of shoes now, but she sees it as punishment.”

Mr Bateman first took Lily, a Cavalier King Charles, Westie and Bichon Frize crossbreed, to Acorn Vets near his workplace in Hove after she started “angrily” licking one of her front paws a few weeks ago.

In the week after her initial treatment, her wounds were tended but did not heal after a shard was removed.

The Argus: Lily wears a cone after her surgeryLily wears a cone after her surgery

On Saturday, she had general anesthesia and a two-inch seed was found still embedded in her paw.

The veterinary practice where Lily was treated, on Portland Road, Hove, said staff help three to five dogs a day with barley grass seeds in their paws, ears and up their noses.

Conservative councilor Dee Simson, who represents the Borough of Woodingdean, said: “The council’s inability to weed the pavements is creating costs for pet owners across the city who have to deal with these vet bills, particularly in areas like Woodingdean where barley prevails grass is larger.

“Woodingdean is surrounded by farmland including barley fields which means that both wind and birds are laying barley grass seeds everywhere. That means the council needs to be proactive and clear weeds throughout the year.”

Cllr Simson said the cost to pet owners is only part of the problem, as overgrown weeds tearing sidewalks leave taxpayers with a long-term burden.

She said there weren’t enough people working to manually weed the 600 miles of sidewalks after the council agreed to ban glyphosate, known commercially as Roundup, in 2019.

Conservative Council colleague Robert Nemeth raised the issue at the full council meeting.

He said three staff members cleared the weeds when 200 were needed after the council failed to explore alternatives to glyphosate before the ban was introduced.

He asked: “Rather than continue to pretend that these problems can be fixed, the leader of the Council would simply say openly that there is absolutely no chance among the Greens and Labor of having safe, clean and weed-free pavements.”

Greens Council leader Phélim Mac Cafferty said Cllr Nemeth should be enthusiastic about the glyphosate ban because he keeps bees and all three political parties have agreed to end the use of glyphosate.

He said: “We come there to catch up on work. All street cleaners who work on foot pull weeds.”

Municipal employees are also using new low-vibration trimmers, and Cityclean, the municipality’s refuse and recycling service, has been offered overtime work to focus on weeding.

The council attempted to recruit 28 seasonal workers to control the weeds, but received few applications.

Instead, it employed two teams of contractors focused on weeding, while further efforts were made to hire permanent staff.

Green Councilor Steve Davis said Brexit was to blame for recruitment problems, while hospitality, transport and the NHS would also suffer.

He said: “Around 1.4 million EU citizens have left this country and are never coming back.

“These people are mowing our verges, stacking our shelves and taking care of our senior citizens in care homes. It’s a real struggle with recruitment.”

https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/20584898.puppy-injured-overgrown-pavement-weeds-brighton/?ref=rss Puppy injured by overgrown weeds in Brighton

Fry Electronics Team

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