Three Dogs Die in Mysterious Meatball Poisonings

Thursday, August 23, 2012 - 3:00pm

Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service (SCRAPS), an ASPCA community partner, has launched an investigation into the recent deaths of three dogs at two different locations in the South Hill neighborhood of Spokane, WA.

On February 19, a woman reported to SCRAPS that she let her dogs outside at approximately 6:00 A.M., and when she went to feed her horses, saw one of the dogs eating something off the ground. She called her dog away from what was later identified as meatballs. Approximately 30 minutes later, the dog started having convulsions and was taken to an emergency clinic, where he died. Two other dogs were reported dead by another pet parent in the South Hill neighborhood on the same day.

Test results from Washington State University indicated that the meatballs were laced with strychnine, which was most likely from gopher bait or a gopher control pesticide. The gopher bait product was mixed with the meat and then cooked. This type of gopher bait product is a “restricted-use” pesticide in the state of Washington, but it is available for purchase at licensed pesticide dealers by those who are eligible.

“There are many ways an individual could have obtained this product, either legally or illegally,” said SCRAPS Lead Animal Protection Officer Nicole Montano, the primary officer investigating these crimes.

SCRAPS is urging everyone to help spread the word about the poisonings in Spokane, and is advising pet parents to keep a close eye on their furry friends and thoroughly inspect their yards and surrounding properties for foreign or toxic substances.

If anyone has any information related to these incidents, please call SCRAPS’s emergency line at (509) 477-2533. This level of cruelty can lead to a charge of animal cruelty in the first degree, a class C felony that carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.