Pet Insurance

Who's Leaving Chicken Around Wimbledon?

Read the latest news on the mysterious chicken being left around Wimbledon, causing worry for pet owners. Find out where chicken has been spotted and find out what to do if you or your dog finds chicken. Stay safe!

Locations last updated 05/02/2019

Police update 14 January 2019: The Wimbledon police are still waiting for the test results to determine if the chicken has been contaminated.

Police update 14 December 2018: The Wimbledon police have updated us by email: "The chicken pieces are going to be sent off for testing, however this may take some time for a result so when the result comes back I will update you further." We'll post their next update as soon as we get it.

Unsettling reports of raw and cooked chicken being left around Wimbledon surfaced at the end of November, and have continued ever since. We are tracking sightings as reported on Nextdoor and directly to us by concerned local residents in the map and table below. Orange pins represent sites where chicken was left on multiple days; blue pins represent locations where chicken was reportedly left one time. Some pins are approximate locations. There are likely additional places where chicken was left of which we are not aware.

DateLocationDetailsTime Noticed
30/01/2019Murray RoadTop of the road5:30 am
28/01/2019Copse HillIn a flower bed
22/01/2019Wimbledon CommonNear Windmill parking lot
19/01/2019Murray RoadOn the crescent-shaped island, buried under leaves
18/01/2019Cottenham Park Roadmorning
18/01/2019Route from Lower Morden to New MaldenNo chicken noticed by 3 dead foxes along the routen/a
17/01/2019Cannon Hill CommonOpposite parkway in between the two rows of trees saplingsn/a
17/01/2019High Cedar Drivemorning
16/01/2019Cavendish Avenue
16/01/2019High Cedar DriveEntrance to the roadmorning
16/01/2019Cottenham ParkCorner of Panmuir Road near Cottenham Park; dead fox nearby10 am
13/01/2019Holland GardensNear Cambidge Road entrance (4 cooked breasts)around 8 am
11/01/2019Murray RoadNear the Common (raw thighs and breast found in a KFC bag)7:30 am
09/01/2019Coombe LaneOutside #67 (mix of raw and cooked)am
08/01/2019Prince's RoadOn pavement and on grass over a small wall (mix of raw and cooked)Left between 7:30 am and 9:30 am
08/01/2019Coombe LaneNear #55/57 (raw chicken)am
07/01/2019Coombe LaneNear Donhead playing fields (also found in October and November)
07/01/2019Cambridge RoadInside gate to Cottenham Park, near Panmuir Road8:15 am
07/01/2019Copse HillOpposite Barham Road10:00 am
07/01/2019Prince's RoadOn pavement and on grass over a small wall7:30 am
04/01/2019Cottenham ParkEntrance from Cambridge Road near the playgroundmorning
04/01/2019Copse HillIn an enclosed garden
03/01/2019Copse HillIn an enclosed garden
02/01/2019Copse HillIn an enclosed garden
02/01/2019Pendarves Road8:30 am
01/01/2019Cottenham Park Roadnear Christ Church10:00 am
30/12/2018Cottenham Park RoadChrist Church car park11:00 am
23/12/2018Cottenham Park Road11:00 am
19/12/2018Pepys RoadIn a back garden
15/12/2018Cambridge RoadNear corner of Durham
12/12/2018Pepys Road6:30 am
12/12/2018RidgwayNear Edge Hill bus stop "L", multiple sightings6:00 am
06/12/2018, 03/12/2018Worple Roadnear Langham
05/12/2018RidgwayCorner of The Downs10:00 am
03/12/2018Holland Gardensmultiple sightingsmorning
02/12/2018Francis GroveJust off Worple Road towards Francis Grove Surgery3 pm
02/12/2018WorpleNear Tabor Grove
22/11/2018Lambton Roadnear bus stop
before 1 December 2018Coombe Hill
before 1 December 2018Clifton RoadNear Ridgway
before 1 December 2018Cottenham Park Road
before 1 December 2018Grosvenor Hill
before 1 December 2018near Lower DownsAlong railway pathevening
before 1 December 2018Ridgwaynear Telephone Exchange, multiple sightingsmorning
before 1 December 2018Southside CommonNear bins near Rushmere Pondmorning
before 1 December 2018St. George's Roadmorning

In most cases, the chicken is initially left out in the open or on pavements. The chicken is frequently a mix of wings, thighs and breasts, both cooked and raw.

Beware that sometimes the chicken is found hidden in piles of leaves or even buried—so you might not easily spot it, but your dog can certainly smell it. We recommend monitoring your dog in your back garden, as chicken has been found inside a number of walled gardens—there is speculation that foxes are carrying the chicken pieces into enclosed gardens and burying them for later consumption.

There is worry in the community that the chicken may be contaminated (e.g., poisoned). While there is no evidence to support these claims at this point (the police are testing the chicken but do not have the results yet) pet owners should nonetheless be aware of signs of poisoning.

According to the RSPCA, signs of poisoning can be seen anytime from 30 minutes after ingestion to two or three days later. These can include some, or all, of the following symptoms: vomiting, seeming depressed or sleepy, appearing drunk or uncoordinated, seizures and difficulty breathing. A local vet also mentioned checking for pale gums or red spots on the gums or eyes, which would be signs of burst blood vessels. For more information visit https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/dogs/health/poisoning.

Even if the chicken has not been contaminated, chicken can be a danger to dogs as bones can splinter into sharp pieces and damage or become lodged in the digestive tract. In some cases, surgery could even be required to remove the foreign body or repair any damage. Additionally, chicken (especially raw) can contain bacteria such as salmonella or E. coli which can be extremely harmful to dogs.

A spokesman for the RSPCA said, "It is concerning to hear about this and we are looking into reports. We would urge pet owners in the area to be vigilant at all times and be on the lookout for anything suspicious. We would urge anyone who has any information to contact us on the RSPCA cruelty line on 0300 1234 999."

What to do if You or Your Dog Finds Chicken

If you find chicken, use a poop bag to remove it so that an animal doesn't eat it. The police have recommended that you throw it out, as they now have a sample. You can call the council to report the sighting, as they are apparently also making a map of reports to help track the situation. Merton Council can be reached at 020 8274 4901. You can call the RSPCA cruelty line on 0300 1234 999. Finally, please use the comments section below to let us know the day, time and location or email us as [email protected] and we'll update this article.

RAWW resident association said identifying the perpetrator(s) and confirming whether any of the chicken is poisoned seem to be key steps and have asked:

  • If anyone with CCTV becomes aware of any chicken deposited nearby please check for any footage that might help identify the perpetrator. The chicken is left early morning, by someone who could be on foot, or in a car as car sightings have been seen, and the chicken is generally spotted between 6:30 am and 9 am. If you have CCTV footage or have any details that might help identify the person responsible or car, inform the police by ringing 101.
  • If your dog becomes ill after eating some of the chicken please report the incident to the police. Take samples of the chicken with you when you take the dog to the vet and retain a sample for any further analysis by the police. If the vet suspects poisoning inform the police and offer the sample for testing.

Would Pet insurance Cover the Vet Fees?

If a dog were to need vet treatment after eating this chicken, the vets bills could be significant—whether due to contaminated chicken or splintered bones—potentially reaching hundreds or thousands of pounds depending on the situation. In that case pet insurance could be critical to make sure your dog gets the treatment they need whilst not causing you financial stress.

We've spoken to a number of UK pet insurance companies to understand how they would cover this situation, and heard mixed results. All agreed that damage due to eating splintered chicken bones would be classed as an accident, and would therefore be covered under both Accident Only and Accident & Illness policies, subject to limits of course.

However, the companies had different perspectives on coverage of treatment resulting from ingesting poisoned chicken. Two companies said they would probably treat any problems that developed subsequent to poisoning as illnesses, because they developed over time. In that case, Accident Only plans would not cover the vet fees. Other companies said they'd probably treat the situation as an accident (depending upon review), because the illnesses were a direct result off ingesting a foreign body.

In the case of the mystery Wimbledon chicken, therefore, it is definitely safer to have a pet insurance plan that covers both Accidents and Illnesses for the best coverage.

Pet Insurance Doesn't Always Start Immediately

Anyone without insurance who is considering taking out a pet insurance plan now to protect their dog should be aware that pet insurance doesn't necessarily start immediately. That is, there is often a waiting period before cover starts. Any illnesses or injuries that occur or show signs during the waiting period will not be covered by insurance at any point.

Waiting periods vary by insurance company and are different for accidents vs. illnesses. The average waiting period for illnesses is typically between 10 days and 15 days, with most plans imposing a 14 day waiting period. While many plans cover accidents immediately, some plans have a waiting period as long as 15 days.

Pet Insurance Waiting PeriodsMinimumMaximumAverage
Illness10 days15 days14 days
Accidents0 days (immediate cover)15 days2 days

If you're thinking of buying pet insurance now due to the mystery chicken, check the waiting period before you buy to be sure you're comfortable with it.

Updates

If you have spotted chicken in an area not mentioned, please email us at [email protected] or leave a comment below and we'll update the article. Wishing you and your dogs stay safe!

Comments and Questions