Dog Poisonings in My San Francisco Hood and in Denver

 |  Dec 8th 2011  |   13 Contributions


Dakota, on what appears to be a little family road trip. (Photo courtesy of Debi Cournale, via <em>San Francisco Chronicle</em>)

Just a few blocks from where I live in San Francisco, a dog and a cat from the same house have died from possible poisoning with methadone. The pets' family has absolutely no methadone in the house. They suspect their pets were poisoned in their backyard just before they started showing signs of severe distress.

When the cat, Cowboy, started "moaning," vomiting, and having a hard time walking Sunday afternoon, Debi Cournale and her 14-year-old daughter rushed him to an emergency veterinarian. When they got back to the house, their 11-month-old mixed-breed puppy, Dakota, showed similar signs and was running around frantically.

They rushed the pup to the vet. He was convulsing. Both Dakota and Cowboy died that night.

"It was insane, absolutely insane," Cournale told the San Francisco Chronicle. "Here's your little puppy, lying on a bed, dead, and on the other side is your cat, lying in an incubator, fighting for his life. It was like a horror movie."

Police are investigating. If this was, indeed, poisoning (necropsies are taking place, but the vet is sure poison is the culprit) how did someone get the poison into the backyard? You have to be a major-league pitcher to throw something over some of the houses around here so that they'd land in the yard. Houses usually completely block backyards in San Francisco. The only easy access is from the neighbors, whose backyards are separated only by fences.

So tragic, more so around the holidays. And a bit close for comfort ...

In a too-related development, KUSA-TV reports that meatballs injected with poison have been thrown into random yards in Denver. Dogs have become sick, but there are no reported deaths.

I know many of you would never let your dog into your yards without full supervision, but that's not realistic for many families. And even if you're watching, it takes only a split second for a dog who is snortling around a yard to come upon a poisoned treat and snarf it up.

Horrible. I don't know how you can be vigilant about this, except maybe to thoroughly inspect your yard before letting your dog out. But even that doesn't cover all bases. Anyone have suggestions?

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