March 14, 2011
Dog-Eating Catfish in the UK
By Chad Love
Here's an interesting story out of the UK about dog-eating catfish. Yes, dog-eating catfish. I found it on the BBC's website.
A leading anglers' centre in north Staffordshire has banned dogs from some of its lakes - for fear they will be seized by large fish.
Cudmore Fisheries issued the ban after netting a 7ft long catfish at its Adelaide predator pool. The managing director at Cudmore, Cyril Brewster, said: "We were aware that the local mink population had shrunk to nothing - this could be the reason." Cudmore hosts the high-profile national Fish O'Mania contest. The giant catfish was caught in a stock-taking of the lake, which also contains pike and perch and more than 100 younger catfish. The fish weighed 61lb (27.6kg), and was 7ft (2.1m) long, though what staff reported as a bigger one got away because their net could not hold it.
The fishery said it now feels it has to ban dogs. Cyril Brewster told BBC Radio Stoke: "These cats are not little pussycats. No pets will be allowed in the fishing area. Even my wife's dog will not be allowed to swim in the lake." He confirmed that catfish will also take birds and chicks. It is believed that wild mink diving into the lake to take small fish have also been seized by the predatory catfish. Rules already demand that inexperienced anglers have to attend a course before they can use the site's 'predator lakes' - and juniors are banned altogether.
Now I'm skeptical - to say the least- that a 61lb. catfish really poses that much danger to any dog larger than say, a gerbil. If they did I guess we'd all be training in swimming pools because I can't think of a public body of water in my area that doesn't have flatheads or blues that size and larger, sometimes much larger. But it does bring up an interesting question concerning retriever training in the south. We don’t have gators in my part of Oklahoma, so the possibility of something eating my dog when I send her on a water retrieve is no concern. In a large chunk of the country, however, it is. So, southern retriever trainers, how do you guys ensure that your training water is safe? Have any of ever lost a dog to a alligator, or even had a close call?