Locations last updated 13/01/2019
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.
|13/01/2019||Holland Gardens||Near Cambidge Road entrance (4 cooked breasts)||around 8 am|
|11/01/2019||Murray Road||Near the Common (raw thighs and breast found in a KFC bag)||7:30 am|
|09/01/2019||Coombe Lane||Outside #67 (mix of raw and cooked)||am|
|08/01/2019||Prince's Road||On pavement and on grass over a small wall (mix of raw and cooked)||Left between 7:30 am and 9:30 am|
|08/01/2019||Coombe Lane||Near #55/57 (raw chicken)||am|
|07/01/2019||Cambridge Road||Inside gate to Cottenham Park, near Panmuir Road||8:15 am|
|07/01/2019||Copse Hill||Opposite Barham Road||10:00 am|
|07/01/2019||Prince's Road||On pavement and on grass over a small wall||7:30 am|
|04/01/2019||Cottenham Park||Entrance from Cambridge Road near the playground||morning|
|04/01/2019||Copse Hill||In an enclosed garden|
|03/01/2019||Copse Hill||In an enclosed garden|
|02/01/2019||Copse Hill||In an enclosed garden|
|02/01/2019||Pendarves Road||8:30 am|
|01/01/2019||Cottenham Park Road||near Christ Church||10:00 am|
|30/12/2018||Cottenham Park Road||11:00 am|
|23/12/2018||Cottenham Park Road||11:00 am|
|19/12/2018||Pepys Road||In a back garden|
|15/12/2018||Cambridge Road||Near corner of Durham|
|12/12/2018||Pepys Road||6:30 am|
|12/12/2018||Ridgway||Near Edge Hill bus stop "L", multiple sightings||6:00 am|
|06/12/2018, 03/12/2018||Worple Road||near Langham|
|05/12/2018||Ridgway||Corner of The Downs||10:00 am|
|03/12/2018||Holland Gardens||multiple sightings||morning|
|02/12/2018||Worple||Near Tabor Grove|
|22/11/2018||Lambton Road||near bus stop|
|before 1 December 2018||Coombe Hill|
|before 1 December 2018||Clifton Road||Near Ridgway|
|before 1 December 2018||Cottenham Park Road|
|before 1 December 2018||Grosvenor Hill|
|before 1 December 2018||near Lower Downs||Along railway path||evening|
|before 1 December 2018||Ridgway||near Telephone Exchange, multiple sightings||morning|
|before 1 December 2018||Southside Common||Near bins near Rushmere Pond||morning|
|before 1 December 2018||St. George's Road||morning|
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.
But beware that sometimes the chicken is found to be 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.
Apparently three dead foxes were found near some of the chicken, leading to speculation that the chicken caused their deaths. 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 (that is, the police have not gotten test results back 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.
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.
If you suspect your dog has eaten something which may be harmful try to stay calm and contact your vet immediately. Whilst it is certainly better to prevent your dog eating something it shouldn't where possible, taking chicken from your dog can be risky. You could be bitten whilst trying to remove chicken from your dog's mouth, even if your dog normally has a lovely temperament. It is perhaps best to keep dogs on lead whilst in the reported areas to keep dogs and pet owners safe.
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 Periods||Minimum||Maximum||Average|
|Illness||10 days||15 days||14 days|
|Accidents||0 days (immediate cover)||15 days||2 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.
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!