Itís not uncommon for dogs to eat whateverís lying about during their walks- especially if itís raw meat. Though vigilant owners often prevent their dogs from consuming strange food, for some dogs, it only takes a moment to devour their discovery. Thatís why the thought of someone scattering poison meat across a dog park is such a terrifying thought to dog owners.
Last year, in July of 2013, Dorothy and her dachshund, Oskar, learned just how dangerous this threat can be when Oskar became the victim of a cruel attack on dogs in the San Francisco area. On an otherwise normal day, Dorothy Schechter and Oskar were out for a walk in the Twin Peaks neighborhood of San Francisco when Oskar managed to quickly eat an unidentified object from the side of the trail. Within an hour, Oskar was suffering from seizures; he would be dead within days.
An investigation revealed that Oskar's death was caused by poisoning from a chemical known as strychnine. Other reports revealed that the toxic chemical was placed inside raw balls of meat and placed throughout an area frequented by dog owners. Though several other dogs were rendered ill from the toxins, fortunately Oskar was the only fatality directly linked to the poison. Unfortunately, as the investigation proved fruitless, the attack faded from the public eye. And that was that... until the poisoned meatballs appeared again last week.
The Threat Returns
After months of inactivity, it the culprit appears to have resurfaced with another round of poisonous meatballs. On February 21, 2014, reports of suspicious meats trickled in to San Franciscoís animal control department. Since then, there have been multiple reports of similar incidents, with poison-laden meat hidden in the brush alongside trails. This positioning is particular devious, as it prevents owners from reacting to their dogís consumption of the meat for the seconds in which they are hidden from view.
Currently, there are still no leads as to who might be committing such a callous crime. In order to help find the responsible parties, the CEO of Yelp has contributed $23,000 to the Animal Legal Defense Fund to contribute towards a $25, 000-reward for information that leads to a conviction of the guilty party. Unfortunately, the investigation has hit another standstill as the police department struggles to shed light on the situation.
Although the incidents of the tainted meat are months apart, they are currently being investigated as part of the same case. Because of the lack of evidence and the limitations on police surveillance, the danger facing dog owners must be dealt with seriously. In order to keep your dog safe, itís important to stay vigilant.
Protecting Your Pet
While the culprit behind these attacks is still at large, we urge dog owners in San Francisco to be cautious while walking your dog. Simply being aware of the poisonous meats can help you react fast enough to prevent your pet from eating a fatal amount of poison. If your dog should eat the poison then itís important that they are treated quickly to reduce the chance of death. Therefore, if your dog should begin eating something strange, itís important that you identify the substance and seek treatment if you believe your dog has ingested poison.
The poison used in the most recent attacks has yet to be confirmed as strychnine- but this common is likely the culprit once again. The poison is fatal if left untreated and is particularly dangerous to smaller dogs. If your dog is a victim of strychnine poisoning then they might suffer from seizures, elevated heart rate, vomiting and fever within the first hour of ingestion. Should your dog begin exhibiting these symptoms after ingesting an unidentified substance, take them to the veterinarian or animal hospital immediately.
Strychnine poisoning can be treated and should be treated immediately. Treatment entails ensuring that muscle spasms do not cause asphyxiation and detoxifying your dogís system. Itís important that owners are aware of this threat and know the signs of poisoning to keep their dog safe, so spread the word to any dog owners you know residing in San Francisco. We hope you and your dog stay safe in the upcoming weeks and that those responsible for these crimes are brought to justice.