In an attempt to fight the presence of predators such as foxes or martens, a farmer has spread poisoned baits in and around his pastures, but instead fourteen domestic dogs, four cats, one wild boar, and five ravens took his bait. Almost all of these poisonings were lethal. For the first time the investigations of the Anti-poison Dog Unit in the Life Under Griffon Wings project led to the persecution of a Laerru breeder, on the ground of killing and damaging these animals and in particular for the killing of protected wildlife. To achieve this persecution, a team of agents of the Corpo Forestale e di Vigilanza Ambientale (CFVA) and the German shepherd ‘King’ from the University of Sassari have conducted lengthy and complex investigations in close collaboration with the Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Sassari.
The investigation was carried out with traditional investigative tools - search, testimony and so on – and the efforts of the dog ‘King’ in the detection of baits and poisons. Thanks to the collaboration of the ‘Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale della Sardegna’, who carried out the toxicological analyses on animal carcasses and baits, it was possible to identify the poisonous substances on materials used to pack poisoned baits, thus targeting the people who could have the poison in their possession.
The project leaders of Life Under Griffon Wings emphasize the value of this experience: "The result of this investigation also serve to remind people that animal poisoning is a crime which is severely punishable by the current law. But most importantly, the use of poison in the countryside is useless to eliminate the predator problem and causes a long chain of deaths to many innocent animals"
The Anti-poison Dog Unit of the Corpo Forestale was created at the beginning of 2016 as a specific action of the Life Under Griffon Wings project - financed by the Life Programme - to prevent and repress potential crimes arising from the use of poisons. Animal poisoning, in fact, has major effects on the food chain and on the quality of our environment. It causes serious damage to fauna, biodiversity in general, human health and to the population of griffon vultures that inhabits the coastal territories of North-western Sardinia.