Sunday, March 8, 2015

Toxic Treats Being Given to Dogs

Toxic 'treats' being left to harm dogs in Lakeville, Minn.

Posted by: N Gilbert

Neighbors say someone left these harmful items stuffed inside "treats" to intentionally hurt animals. (Photo: KARE - Rob Collett)

LAKEVILLE, Minn. – Dogs owners in a south Lakeville neighborhood are distraught after several dogs have become severely ill and even hospitalized after eating items intended to harm animals.

Lakeville Police are pursuing a criminal investigation after families found hot dogs stuffed with screws, open safety pins and pills scattered around backyards of several homes over the weekend. Other toxic treats discovered include steel wool rubbed with peanut butter, punctured batteries and open shotgun shells. All the items were tangled with rubber bands and appear to be created for dogs to swallow.

Seth Paulson, 15, was the first to make the discovery last Thursday afternoon when he noticed the family's Golden Retriever was chewing on something near the fence.

"He was constantly gnawing at it and couldn't swallow it. It was a hot dog with a screw in it," he said. "I found two more. It looked like as if they were thrown over the fence."

Paulson was able to pry the hot dog from Trucker's mouth just in time and then alerted his mom, Kathy Paulson, who fosters Golden Retrievers. When she saw the items, Kathy Paulson began a door-to-door mission to alert neighbors and posted the warnings on Facebook for other dog owners to see.

"We could tell it was intentional, set up," Paulson said. "Somebody put a lot of time and energy into this."

On the next street, Lindsay Perez noticed the post just after her two dogs -- Pablo, a Schnauzer poodle, and Yogi, a Maltese Pomeranian -- had become sick.

"So I walked outside and within 10 seconds I found them all over my yard," Perez said, who then rushed her pups to a nearby veterinary clinic, and soon an emergency vet.

Neighbors say someone left these harmful items stuffed inside "treats" to intentionally hurt animals. (Photo: KARE - Rob Collett)

"Pablo had a total of 11 screws in his stomach and Yogi had three open safety pins," she said.

Yogi required endoscopic surgery because of those open safety pins and Pablo remained hospitalized Sunday after complications from his scare. On top of the stress, and thousands of dollars racked up in vet bills, Perez and her husband are expecting their first child in a few weeks.

"Exhausting and stressful and awful, didn't need to deal with this this weekend," Perez said. "I don't know what's next? I'd love to find out who did this and why they did it and are targeting dogs? This neighborhood is usually so safe."

Neighbors are also hearing another dog in the area had passed away after eating something on a walk, but say the cause of death has not been confirmed. Lakeville Police aren't yet confirming the rumored dog death or the severity of other pet injuries, but say they are looking at a criminal case and will release more information Monday.

Kathy Paulson, who is the daughter of a veterinarian, is grateful her posts alerted other owners and possibly saved the lives of more pets. She also worries about young children becoming curious about the items in yards.

"There is a lot of emotion attached to it. There's sadness, anger, confusion. You wonder what kind of person would do this and is this just a starting point?" she said, through tears. "These dogs are like your children. It's deeper than a four-legged animal. It's a family member."

A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help pay for Yogi and Pablo’s medical expenses.


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