Already up to 12 pet dogs and cats have died from the poisonous substance laid on the green amenity area at the Woodview Park housing estate in Tallow where local children regularly play.
The poison has also been thrown over walls into resident’s back gardens.
Residents have been so frightened and angered that one man has offered a €500 reward to help capture those responsible. Gardaí last night warned those connected with the incidents close to the local authority housing estate in Co Waterford face prosecution.
Gardaí last night said they had cleared the area of the poison, called Traza, which is commonly used by farmers to keep rats away from beet crops. There were no immediate plans to close off the area and health and safety officers were not scheduled to visit the scene.
However, parents fear the lives of their children will be at risk if they pick up the poison and consume it.
Varying amounts of the poison have been thrown into the back gardens of some of the houses. One parent has been so angered that he has erected a sign offering a €500 reward for information.
Tom Doyle’s two pet dogs picked up the poison and, despite the best efforts of a local vet to save them, one of the dogs had to be put down.
Up to 40 residents held a meeting to discuss the situation this week.
“Our big fear,” says Residents Association secretary Tom Daly, “is for the safety and welfare of the children. Pet animals can be replaced but children can’t.” County councillor James Tobin has branded the actions of those involved an “outrage” and said every effort must be paid to apprehend them. “It is not just criminality, it is potentially life threatening, it is an extremely worrying situation and one that must be stopped.”
A garda spokesman at Dungarvan regional headquarters has also condemned the incidents which have been going on for almost three weeks.
“We are not unmindful of the dangers to human health and to life itself, and we will bring the full rigours of the law against anyone who is apprehended,” the spokesman added.