Police investigating Eagle County dog poisonings
Ryan Summerlin July 10, 2014
What to look for
Rat poisoning can be slow to act on dogs, usually two to seven days (but can be 2 weeks). The first signs are usually neurologic such as muscle tremors or seizure. Other symptoms include loss of appetite (anorexia), impaired movement, paralysis of the animal’s hind limbs, slight muscle tremors, generalized seizures, and a depression of the central nervous system. Ingestion of extremely high doses may cause a sudden onset of muscle tremors, and even seizures.
Source: Pet MD
EAGLE COUNTY — Char Quinn’s dog was poisoned, but is still alive because she was able to rally a veterinarian at 1 a.m.
Heather Lemon wasn’t as lucky. Her Yorkshire terrier died after someone dropped rat poison into her fenced-in yard where the dog was secured.
The two dogs are among a growing number in the valley that appear to be subjected to poison.
Lemon, a local attorney and Realtor, says her dog was poisoned around June 20. She and her veterinarian did everything they could, but the small dog had eaten too much poison.
Lemon’s Eagle-Vail neighbor’s dog may also have been poisoned to death.
“We want people to be aware of what may be going on,” Lemon said.
Pattern of poison?
Around the same time Lemon’s dog was fatally poisoned, Quinn’s dog picked up a packet of rat poison that appeared to be left deliberately on her neighbor’s doorstep in an Avon apartment building.
Quinn runs Eagle County’s Humane Society and deals with all kinds of animal cruelty cases, so she knew exactly what was happening.
She was part of an investigation into a puppy mill in Sparta, Tenn., and she ended up with the puppy bought by undercover officers before they raided the place. She named it Sparta.
“Poison usually goes to the kidneys and death can come fairly quickly,” she said.
Quinn said she got home that night around 9 p.m. and her neighbor was home about an hour later.
She has to walk past her neighbor’s door to get to her apartment, and the packet of rat poison wasn’t there when she came home, she said.
She took her dog out around midnight, and the dog picked it up on their way back in.
The poison packets come in a box and smell like food. Rats and mice go into the box, eat the poison and die.
This had been removed from the box before it was left on her neighbor’s doorstep, Quinn said.
The small packet is about the size of a small candy wrapper.
Quinn said she didn’t know what it was at the time, but the dog wasn’t going to be allowed to have it. She traded the dog for another treat and read the packet.
Quinn said she didn’t know what it was until she read the package.
The dog had punctured with the package with its teeth, but hadn’t swallowed the whole thing yet.
Fifteen minutes later. she was at the Vail Valley Animal Hospital and had called the police while on the way.
When it was all over, Quinn and her neighbor sat in her condo unwinding. Around 3 a.m., they found a plastic bag for cleaning up after dogs laid out perfectly flat in front of her neighbor’s door.
Police are asking anyone with information to contact them.
“The best course of action is to contact law enforcement or Eagle County Animal Control,” said Avon Police Chief Bob Ticer.
In Boulder County, poisoned meatballs were left in community parks and were eaten by three dogs. Tests showed those meatballs were laced with brodifacoum, the active ingredient in d-Con rat poison.
The three dogs poisoned in Boulder County are recovering.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and firstname.lastname@example.org.