Lisburn man issues warning after his beloved dog lost an eye

A Lisburn mam has issued a stark warning to other pet owners after his beloved Shih Tzu lost an eye at Christmas.
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Frank Graham's little Alfie was exploring the neighbourhood when he came in contact with a nail that was sticking out from a telegraph pole outside his house.

On closer inspection Frankie noticed a number of nails protruding from the pole and realised his little dog had caught his eye on one of the nails.

Sadly despite the best efforts of the vet, on Christmas Eve, Alfie lost his eye.

Little Alfie poses for a picture just days before the dreadful accident when he lost an eye. Pic contributed by Frank GrahamLittle Alfie poses for a picture just days before the dreadful accident when he lost an eye. Pic contributed by Frank Graham
Little Alfie poses for a picture just days before the dreadful accident when he lost an eye. Pic contributed by Frank Graham

Now Frankie is warning other pet owners, and even parents of young children, to be careful around telegraph poles after it came to light that the nails had been put there by Open Reach engineers before they climbed the pole and had never been removed.

"On Christmas Eve our wee Alfie went for a wander around the front garden and nearby lamp-post, and dandered down to the telegraph pole between mine and the neighbours driveway, nothing strange in that as he would do that often to see his little friend Rocky next door," explained Frankie.

"This time as I was standing at the door speaking to my other neighbour, Alfie let out this most horrendous yelp, and came running into the house, jumped onto his chair and with his paw outstretched, as to keep us away.

"He continued to yelp, until I was eventually able to calm him down a bit, but he was really hurting, it was at this stage that I noticed blood coming from his right eye.

Alfie had to undergo surgery to remove his eye after he came in contact with a nail that was sticking out of a telegraph pole. Pic credit: Contributed by Frank GrahamAlfie had to undergo surgery to remove his eye after he came in contact with a nail that was sticking out of a telegraph pole. Pic credit: Contributed by Frank Graham
Alfie had to undergo surgery to remove his eye after he came in contact with a nail that was sticking out of a telegraph pole. Pic credit: Contributed by Frank Graham

"I immediately contacted our vet, explained what was happening and was told to bring him straight over.

“His vet. Becky Orr, who was standing at the door waiting for us, informed me Alfie would need to be sedated as he seems in such pain she couldn't examine him without doing this.

“As I anxiously waited to hear what was happening, roughly 30 minutes later Becky came out and told me the news that I most certainly didn't want to hear. Unfortunately there was nothing they could do, as Alfie had ruptured his eye and therefore would lose it.”

Frank was devastated at the trauma caused to Alfie. “To be totally truthful I just went to bits, and couldn't comprehend the very though of Alfie losing an eye, it was more than I could apprehend, especially at that time of the year,” he admitted.

Alfie left without an eye after coming in contact with nails let sticking out of a telegraph pole. Pic contributed by Frank GrahamAlfie left without an eye after coming in contact with nails let sticking out of a telegraph pole. Pic contributed by Frank Graham
Alfie left without an eye after coming in contact with nails let sticking out of a telegraph pole. Pic contributed by Frank Graham

"Having to give my permission for his operation was the hardest decision I had to make that day, but I knew he had a wonderful vet in Becky Orr and brilliant staff behind her at Vets4Pets Sprucefield, so I knew that Alfie would be well looked after.”

Thankfully Alfie made it through the operation and once things had settled down Frank went to investigate what had caused such a terrible injury.

"About three or four days after his accident I went to look at the telegraph pole, to see what or if anything that might have caused his injury, only to discover to my horror, that there were at least eight nails at different heights coming up the pole,” explained Frank.

"From ground level, each was about a quarter of an inch in length coming from the pole. I was absolutely fuming that someone would have placed these nails into the pole in the first place, with no regards for any thing or person that would be unfortunate enough to come into contact with it.

Lisburn man Frank Graham issues warning to local people to be wary around telegraph poles after his dog lost an eye after coming in contact with a nail left sticking out of the pole. Pic contributed by Frank GrahamLisburn man Frank Graham issues warning to local people to be wary around telegraph poles after his dog lost an eye after coming in contact with a nail left sticking out of the pole. Pic contributed by Frank Graham
Lisburn man Frank Graham issues warning to local people to be wary around telegraph poles after his dog lost an eye after coming in contact with a nail left sticking out of the pole. Pic contributed by Frank Graham

"Half of the nails were rusted as well. I immediately went and got a hammer and punched those nails nearly through that pole in my anger.”

Frank was outraged that someone had left the nails sticking out of the pole, causing a hazard to animals or even young children who might come in contact with them.

“I have since found out from a very kind and understanding Open Reach Engineer, that engineers are responsible for putting the nails into the pole along with a tab with a code and date and before they put this on the pole, the old tab and nails are to be removed, the new one is placed four to five inches in height from ground to the pole, this is done before they can climb that pole.

"When I showed him our pole with the nail heads covered, he was shocked at what he saw and said that those nails should have been removed and they were too far up the post.

"I would not be able to comprehend the consequences of this, therefore I think everyone needs to know the dangers of coming into contact with telegraph poles, especially from ground level to approximately one foot above.

“Until the engineers are educated on a different procedure, on how they mark the poles, then this type of dangerous work will only continue, and add heartache and misery to some other poor soul in the near future.

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"I want to highlight the dangers to our furbabys or other animals, in fact young children as well, if any child had fallen either front or backwards onto the telegraph pole outside my house, it could have been disastrous.

"Everyone needs to know the dangers of coming into contact with telegraph poles.”

A spokesperson for Open Reach, who said they could not discuss the details of individual cases, commented: "We are aware of the serious concerns raised by Mr. Graham and are in contact with him to understand them fully."

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