A disturbed individual has been leaving meatballs spiked with strychnine on San Francisco sidewalks, and dogs are eating them and getting sick.
The meatballs, which are cooked, also pose a threat to children.
The poisoned meatballs were found in the Twin Peaks and Diamond Heights neighborhoods, primarily in the area of Crestline Drive and Burnett Avenue. Then, more poisoned meatballs were found in Cole Valley, Hayes Valley, Bernal Heights, and the Lower Haight, according to the SF Examiner.
That’s a huge area, spanning much of the city. So far, more than 100 tainted meatballs have been found by searchers. Jeanette Oliver, a manager of Diamond Heights Shopping Center Inc., said customers told her that they had found more than 50 on Wednesday.
At this point, two dogs in Twin Peaks have gotten sick. One of them, a 7-year-old Dachshund named Oskar, is being treated at Animal Internal Medicine and Specialty Services. His owner, Dorothy Schechter, said that Oskar ate a small ball of meat on their walk and then started seizing minutes later. He’s now in critical condition but has been stabilized.
“I thought he was just nervous with all the fireworks,” she said. “But this was more. I gathered him up and took him to the vet. He’s still there now.”
“This is a very rapidly absorbed toxin,” Dr. Carrie Jurney, a neurologist at Animal Internal Medicine and Specialty Services, told KGO. “This is something that gets in the system within 10 to 15 minutes. So it’s important that people act quickly and get to a veterinarian ASAP if they think their dog has eaten something.”
Schechter believes the poisoned meat was placed deliberately.
“They were placed so dogs would sniff them out,” she said. “If you want fame or 15 minutes of fame, for heaven’s sake, you don’t need to go about it in this manner.”
As for the type of poison, early testing indicates strychnine, but Jurney said toxicology tests are still pending.
For people with dogs in San Francisco, watch for symptoms such as agitation; seizures; hyperthermia; trouble breathing; and hypersensitivity to sound, light, and touch, according to the Examiner.
And keep a close eye on your dogs, S.F. Who knows how many more poisoned meatballs are out there.
According to KGO, anyone with information is asked to contact police or the anonymous tip line at 415-575-4444, or text a tip to TIP411 — and write SFPD in the beginning of the message. If you find poisoned meatballs, use gloves to handle them and call police.