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Tag: poison

Suspicious meatballs found in San Francisco

sfmeatballs

For the second time in less than a year, someone is scattering what are suspected to be poisoned meatballs in a San Francisco neighborhood in an apparent attempt to murder dogs.

A San Francisco animal control officer Saturday found 34 meatballs scattered around the Twin Peaks neighborhood, where a similar incident occurred last year.

The meatballs were placed along curbs and in hedges and bushes, where they’re more likely to be sniffed out by dogs and less likely to be spotted by humans.

“These were incredibly well-hidden,” Lt. Denise BonGiovanni said.

An animal control officer was sent to search the area near Crestline Drive and Parkridge Drive Saturday after a resident called Friday to report finding fragments of suspicious meatballs.

The officer found 34 pieces of raw meat containing something solid. A 35th ball of meat was turned over to the officer by a resident who picked it up before her dog could eat it, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The meatballs have been turned over to the San Francisco Police Department for testing.

“They look very similar to the ones found last year,” BonGiovanni said.

Last July, a 7-year-old dachshund died and another dog was sickened after eating meatballs the police believe were filled with strychnine.

No arrest was made in the case.

Since last week’s incident, the city’s Animal Care and Control staff have posted more than 50 warning signs in the neighborhood. Residents of the neighborhood are being advised to keep their pets inside, or keep them on a short leash when walking.

“If your dog picks up anything and starts to eat it, I wouldn’t waste time, I would take it to a vet,” BonGiovanni said. “We haven’t confirmed it’s poison but it’s not worth taking chances.”

San Francisco police are asking anyone with information that could help the investigation to call their anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444.

(Photo: Provided by San Francisco Police Department)

The cull is on in Sochi: Stray dogs are being exterminated by city hosting the Olympics

sochistrays

It’s hardly the first time a city trying to put its best face forward has shown instead how ugly it can be.

Even as the opening ceremony for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi is choreographed — with its heartwarming message of peace, love and brotherhood — the city is trying to purge its streets of stray dogs, poisoning, capturing and killing them so it can project a clean, safe and pleasant image.

Despite publicly backing off from plans to do so last year, the city of Sochi has hired a private company to kill as many of its stray dogs as possible before the games, according to an ABC News report, based on an interview with the owner of the company hired to kill the dogs

Alexei Sorokin, while declining to comment on how many strays have been exterminated so far, was more than willing to talk about the dangers they pose:

“Imagine, if during an Olympic games, a ski jumper landed at 130 kilometres an hour and a dog runs into him when he lands. It would be deadly for both a jumper and for the stray dog,” he said.

Yes, the odds for that happening — landing upon a dog upon completion of a ski jump — have got to be pretty high.

It’s not the first time a city has tried to purge its streets of all things unsightly and embarassing before international attention comes its way.

Stray dogs have been rounded up at previous Olympics, and soccer championships. In America, cities hosting political conventions have corraled their homeless to keep them out of the sight of visitors. And before yesterday’s hardly-worth-the-wait Super Bowl, officials in New York and New Jersey sought to crack down on packs of prostitutes they said were streaming into the area for the big event.

All those things cost money, often taxpayer money, so residents end up footing the bill for a city’s superficial makeover — all so a city can deceive the rest of the world for  a week or two.

That’s what it really is, deception — covering up its real face, putting on enough make-up so we can’t see its pimples, disguising, erasing, incarcerating or restricting the movements of those who might embarass it. Instead of addressing real problems, the city spends money on temporarily covering them up.

Then, to justify it all, they have to spin some more, often turning to fear tactics to do so.

The strays in Sochi might bite people, or might have rabies, or might bump into ski jumpers falling from the sky, officials say. So they’re being “culled,” which means killed, but sounds better. The dogs have broken no laws – other than being unwanted and unloved –  but they’re getting the death penalty anyway.

“I am for the right of people to walk the streets without fear of being attacked by packs of dogs … Dogs must be taken off the streets even if that means putting them to sleep,” said Sorokin, who says he is performing a needed public service. He described his company, which generally uses poisons and traps to rid the streets of dogs, as  the largest of its kind in Russia.

What’s really behind such purgings – whether it’s killing stray dogs, rounding up hookers, or cordoning off the homeless – isn’t civic pride. If it were civic pride, we’d be working on fixing the problem. When we’re working only on the appearance, it’s civic vanity.

Just as stray dogs haven’t suddenly become a bigger problem in Sochi, there’s no proof — despite the pronouncements of city and state officials — that prostitution surges to dangerous proportions during Super Bowls.  There might be more arrests during Super Bowls, but there generally are when law enforcement cracks down.

Even an advocate for victims of trafficking noted last week that New York and New Jersey, by cracking down on prostitution during the Super Bowl, weren’t solving any problems — and maybe were even doing a disservice.

“The annual oversimplification of the issue, in which we conflate all prostitution with trafficking, and then imply that arrest equals solution, does a disservice to year-round efforts to genuinely assist survivors of trafficking — with emergency housing, medical care and other crucial services,” Kate Mogulescu, founder and supervising attorney of the Trafficking Victims Advocacy Project at the Legal Aid Society, wrote in last week’s New York Times.

“When the discussion is dominated by fear-mongering, we fail to meaningfully address the actual causes of human trafficking. Remove the guise of ‘preventing’ human trafficking, and we are left with a cautionary tale of how efforts to clean up the town for a media event rely on criminalizing people, with long-lasting implications for those who are then trapped in the criminal justice system.”

There are better ways to fight crime, conquer homelessness and combat stray dog problems — none of which are quick fixes, none of which are simply cosmetic, all of which involve, as a first step, getting past the mindset expressed by Sorokin in Soshi.

“Let’s call things by their real name,” he said. “These dogs are biological trash.”

(Photo: A stray dog and its puppy outside Sochi; by Alexander Zemlianichenko / Associated Press)

Police department bids farewell to Cheko

Police in Thomasville, North Carolina, paid their tribute to one of their canine partners Thursday – Cheko, a 9-year-old drug-sniffing dog who died after being poisoned.

About 150 people gathered for a memorial service at the Thomasville Funeral Home.

Police Chief Jeffrey Insley said before the service that an autopsy determined that Cheko — a drug-detecting dog who also was trained as a tracker — had been poisoned, according to the Winston-Salem Journal. He was one of four dogs in the K-9 unit.

Cheko died in March, just a week before he was scheduled to retire, at the Randolph County home of his handler, Thomasville Police Sgt. John Elgin. Elgin found Cheko dead inside his kennel, about two days after the dog started acting sluggish.

The Randolph County Sheriff’s Department is investigating how the dog ingested the poison. Elgin said additional tests will be conducted to determine what chemicals or poisons killed Cheko.

“It could have been an act of retaliation from a past arrest, but we are not going to point any fingers until we complete our investigation,” he said.

“Any new dog who takes Cheko’s place will have big paws to fill,” Insley said at the service.

Among those paying tribute to Cheko was  Thomasville Mayor Joe Bennett told the audience, Cheko had gone to heaven. “I doubt there are drugs there, but he is looking for something and having fun.”

Strychnine meatballs killing Spokane dogs

Poisoned meatballs are believed to have killed three dogs in a Spokane neighborhood last week

Several more batches were found Monday on streets in the South Hill neighborhood, KREM-TV reported, though no more pets were reported to have died or fallen ill.

On Friday, one woman saw her dog eat some meatballs on the street and then go into convulsions before dying. A man also had two of his dogs die Friday after eating the meatballs.

Washington State University veterinarians tested a meatball found near the woman’s property last week and confirmed the harmful chemical strychnine was found in it.

Local animal welfare agencies are investigating the incidents and urging pet owners to watch closely over their pets while outside.

The Humane Society of the United States is offering a reward up to $2,500 for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the poisonings.

Owners say cocaine-gulping dogs denied care

The anonymous owners of two dogs who swallowed cocaine in Florida say they may file a complaint against a West Palm Beach veterinary clinic that refused to treat their dogs because they didn’t have enough money.

The story, as aired on TV station WPBF, is one of those that raises more questions than it answers — but apparently the couple took the dogs to Palm Beach Veterinary Specialists in West Palm Beach on Thursday after the animals suffered seizures.

The couple says the clinic was treating the dogs with intravenous fluids, but kicked them out upon learning the owners didn’t have enough money for the treeatment required.

The next day, they took the dogs to Safe Harbor Animal Hospital, whose director said the first clinic violated the law by declining to treat the dogs. “By Florida state statute, as a vet you must render care to an animal that is in critical condition or in a life or death situation,” Safe Harbor Director Kay-Lynette Roca said.

A spokeswoman for the Palm Beach Veterinary Specialists denied they broke any laws and said the dogs were stable when they left their hospital. She said they even offered the pet owners discounts to make sure the dogs got the medical attention they needed. The pet owners chose to remove the animals from their facility against medical advice, she said.

The owners have not been identified, which leads me to wonder (A) if they, perchance, were the rightful owners of the cocaine the dogs gulped down, and (B) if so, they might want to set aside some of the money in their recreational drug budget for emergency veterinary care.

Financial woes behind mass poisoning attempt

muchnickA Pennsylvania woman, unable to cope with financial hardships, tried to kill her 29 cats, her dog and herself, authorities in Montgomery County, Pa., say.

The woman, Linda Muchnick, of Harleysville, was arrested on charges of cruelty to animals.

District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman, Lower Salford Township Police Chief Thomas A. Medwid and Towamencin Township Police Chief Paul T. Dickerson announced the charges yesterday. They stem from an incident last week when police were called by a local veterinary clinic.

The clinic had “received information” that Muchnick intended to kill herself and her animals due to financial hardships, the district attorney’s office said in a press release.

Towamencin Township Police entered Muchnick’s home and found 29 cats in a locked bedroom with no open windows. Officers found D-Con rat poison had been placed in the food bowls of the cats.

Muchnick was found, unresponsive,  in a separate, locked bedroom with a sick pit bull.  More rat poison was found in the room, authorities said. Muchnick was treated at a local hospital.

One cat died as a result of ingesting rat poison.

Virginia joins states making antifreeze safer

Virginia last week became the seventh state to require antifreeze be spiked with a bitter tasting agent that keeps pets from consuming the toxic liquid.

About 10,000 pets a year, lured by its sweet taste, are fatally poisoned by antifreeze, according to the Humane Society Legislative Fund.

The bill was sponsored by Rep. Kirk Cox, a Republican who introduced the bill in January, after a constituent told him of two dogs on her postal route that had fallen victim to antifreeze.

Oregon, Washington, New Mexico, Arizona, Tennessee, Maine and California have similar laws, according to Zootoo.com.

The law calls for all imported car engine coolants/antifreeze that have more than 10 percent ethylene glycol also contain denatonium benzoate, a notoriously bitter, but otherwise harmless chemical compound.

“For a 25-pound dog, it can take just as much as a few licks for this stuff to take effect,” said Sara Amundson, executive director of the Humane Society Legislative Fund.

Oregon first passed a law to make antifreeze more unappealing nearly 15 years ago.

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