It isn’t often that you hear about an RSPCA investigation into the treatment of a koi! It’s usually the treatment of dogs, cats and horses which hit the headlines but a recent case involved a koi and there is something of a mystery surrounding the fate of the unfortunate fish.
Discarded plastic bag
A women was walking with her dog in Millhams Road, Bournemouth in February when she realised that a plastic bag she had spotted was moving. Closer inspection revealed that the bag contained a koi of significant size. The bag was sealed and did not contain any water but miraculously, the fish was still alive.
It isn’t known if the fish had been left without water or if the bag had leaked.
Rescue mission for the koi
The women who found the koi realised that she had to act quickly. She took the fish home and put it water before calling the RSPCA. One of the Charity’s inspectors, Patrick Bailey, later collected the fish which was roughly 12 inches long and orange in colour. It had three black growths on its back which were the size of walnuts.
The koi is now being cared for by staff at the RSPCA’s Ashley health centre. There has been consultation with a vet regarding the growths and how to treat them.
What happened to this fish?
It is possible that the fish was stolen from a private pond as it is unlikely that an enthusiast would place their own fish in a sealed bag without water. But anything is possible.
Fish being transported from a dealer to a pond are generally carried in plastic bags which are also ideal for inspecting fish. In addition, bags can be used to move koi from one pond to another but care must be taken not to stress the fish when they are being moved. Not putting water in the bag would certainly be stress-inducing!
It is recommended that a bag is placed inside another when transporting fish in case of leakage. There should be enough water in the bag to cover the koi and it should then be filled with air from an air pump or oxygen cylinder.
Perhaps someone had attempted to do the right thing and completely messed up although it is hard to imagine how they could mislay a large fish on route to wherever they were heading.
Is someone missing a large fish?
It will be interesting to find out if this episode was an accident or a deliberate act of cruelty. The presence of the growths suggests that the fish might have been extracted from a pond in order to take it somewhere to be examined. It has certainly been examined now and should face a good future. There are probably many enthusiasts in the area who would be happy to take the koi and perhaps someone who is missing a fish!
The RSPCA are appealing for anyone with information about the fish to call their appeal line on 0300 123 8018.