A BELOVED family pet was rushed to the vet after being poisoned in a Southampton city centre park.

Barney, the dog has spent the last few days being sick after eating bread covered in rat poison.

Owner Tom Hicks had been taking the eight-year-old black Labrador for a walk in Queens Park.

The two had been passing time, waiting for a Red Funnel ferry to the Isle of Wight on Monday evening.

Daily Echo: Barney the dog.Barney the dog.

Tom said: “I saw him get into some stuff at the base of a tree. I went over and pulled him off it. I saw there was a pile of what looked like rat poison.”

Police confirmed Barney had eaten bread that was covered in rat poison in the park.

He added: “The next morning he threw up.

“I took him to the vet and they tested his blood. Lo and behold it came back he had a reasonably high-level dose [of rat poison].

“People are horrible. I just thought it would be helpful if people knew about it. I was just very, very lucky that we caught it early.”

The 48-year-old headhunter who is originally from London has described his pet as particularly tough and an extremely important part of the family.

“We adore him. My three daughters would be lost without him,” Tom said.

He now wants people to be aware of the risk and for the police to catch the people who dumped the poison.

Daily Echo: Queens Park, SouthamptonQueens Park, Southampton

A police spokesperson said: “We received a report that a dog became ill after ingesting bread covered in rat poison. The local Neighbourhood Policing Team has been made aware of the incident.”

Earlier in the month, Mayflower Park was closed when several pigeons were found dead due to suspected poisoning.

Environmental health officers carried out a thorough search of the riverside space which has since reopened.

It is unknown if the two incidents are linked. The Daily Echo contacted the city council for more information.