Whitehorse Daily Star

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Bylaw Manager Dave Pruden

Two dogs died from poisoning agent: RCMP

Whitehorse RCMP and bylaw officers are investigating the sudden deaths of two dogs in Porter Creek and the illness of a third.

By Rhiannon Russell on April 1, 2015

Whitehorse RCMP and bylaw officers are investigating the sudden deaths of two dogs in Porter Creek and the illness of a third.

Preliminary testing of the deceased dogs’ tissue shows traces of a poisoning agent, RCMP Const. Julia Fox said late this morning.

Despite rumours circulating on social media that they were intentionally poisoned by rotten meat thrown into backyards, bylaw manager Dave Pruden said Tuesday that’s not yet known.

Stomach contents of the dog that survived have also been sent to a Vancouver lab for testing.

“I’d like to believe that people aren’t poisoning animals in yards,” said Pruden.

“I don’t want to get into placing a bunch of fear into people that something is happening that may not be,” he said, but added Porter Creek residents should just be cautious.

On March 15, two Corgis died suddenly, Pruden said.

One dog started having seizures and died en route to the veterinarian. When the owner returned home, the other dog showed similar symptoms.

On Monday, a husky at another Porter Creek home suddenly began showing signs of illness. The owner rushed it to the vet, and it survived.

“We don’t know how these dogs ingested whatever they ingested,” Pruden said.

He said bylaw officers have been talking to neighbourhood residents, but haven’t yet determined what caused the illnesses.

“It could be a wide variety of things,” he said. “A lot of times people’s minds run to the worst-case scenario: maybe somebody’s poisoning the dogs.”

But Pruden said dogs could be ingesting something unhealthy in the woods, or licking anti-freeze leaking from machines.

“It doesn’t take very much anti-freeze to get animals sick,” he said.

He said bylaw would examine the full toxicology findings once they’re sent back from Vancouver.

In the meantime, Pruden advises people to be vigilant with their dogs: ensure they’re not eating anything when out for walks or licking at any puddles.

And if people are concerned about intentional poisonings, he suggests they keep an eye on their backyards.

Whitehorse RCMP shared a similar message this afternoon, cautioning pet owners to be vigilant, check their yards and report any suspicious activity.

A few suspicious canine illnesses have been reported in past years in and around Whitehorse.

Two Golden Horn dogs died after consuming rat poison in 2004, but police determined it was an isolated case.

In Hillcrest in 2003, a dog died of strychnine poisoning.

And in 1999, RCMP and a local veterinarian warned Hidden Valley residents to keep a close eye on their dogs after three fell ill and had seizures.

Two died.

Comments (10)

Up 35 Down 29

Chill out people on Apr 3, 2015 at 12:50 pm

My goodness there are a lot of people out there that are harboring quite a bit of ill will towards neighbors for a dog barking once in awhile or leaving a little poop here and there (it is just dog poop, value added dog food). Sure don't see these aggressive dogs that seems to be another popular hot button. Regardless that does not give you a license to take the law into your own hands. You have the ability (I am assuming here) to speak, talk to your neighbors about their dogs. Now take a chill pill, go down to the bookstore and look for "Don't sweat the small stuff" Most dog owners are nice people.) Have a nice day.

Up 32 Down 4

isn't this about innocent dogs? on Apr 2, 2015 at 4:32 pm

Cat man--not everyone likes cats either. That's not the point of this article. The point is that innocent animals are being poisoned (what seems like) on purpose. This is not a "cats are better than dogs" post. Get with it.

Up 29 Down 4

Al on Apr 2, 2015 at 3:43 pm

It is time we get the facts out into the open.

First of all this was a deliberate act of poisoning and not an "illness" of the first two dogs. The toxicology report is back and in the possession of the RCMP and COW By-Law department as of Tuesday the 31st of this week. The testing was not done in Vancouver but sent to the University of Michigan, one of the leading centers for this type of analysis.

To the RCMP - yes you do need to investigate this incidence. The report indicates that the poison used was Strychnine, it was clearly stated as a fact. Strychnine is a controlled substance in Canada, except in Alberta. Its misuse is a criminal offense and as such this act becomes a criminal investigation by its misuse. The first two weeks the RCMP wanted proof before it would act - OK the proof is before you. Your responsibility is to act.

Would you want someone running the streets dispersing poison? I sure as hell don't; and yet we in fact do have someone in fact doing just that. We have a maniac running loose. Think for a minute folks - what if it were your child who picked up an item laced with Strychnine, ingested the substance and died. Or do you really think, as the Staff Sargent noted it was licking stuff in the woods, perhaps manna from the skies that just fell to earth?

Anyone with half a wit knows that to kill, anti-freeze must be ingested in large quantities. In this case neither evidence was found at the site. Both of these Corgis were in a fenced yard and under the control of their owners. Owners who are responsible and considerate of their neighbours. I know this because I know the family well. The care of their pets is exemplary and beyond reproach.

This is more than an act of outrage. It is someone who is sick and on the path to even more murderous pursuits.
I can only hope that the story in print was done prior to getting the official results (I might add a story that leaves a lot to be desired and obviously researched poorly by the reporter.) What is worse, why the hush now???

To the family, especially the children, who had to witness such a horrible death of their family members my heart goes out to you.
Let us hope that the motto of the RCMP holds true: "We always get our man!"

Up 8 Down 38

cat man on Apr 2, 2015 at 2:04 pm

Glad I have a cat. Dogs are too needy and vulnerable.

Up 72 Down 25

responsible dog owner on Apr 2, 2015 at 12:40 pm

The comments from "poisoning is wrong-so is pissing off your neighbours" are totally correct.

There are far too many irresponsible 'pet parents' in this town who feel that dog ownership is a right, not a privilege with responsibilities. They're the ones who make excuses like "my dog will run away and explore as dogs are known to do"
If your dog runs loose or makes a nuisance barking then it's your fault, not the dog's. That's why we have by-laws to punish irresponsible behavior.

Jumping to conclusions with insufficient evidence is foolish. Dogs frequently get sick when they run loose and get into garbage "as dogs are known to do".

No doubt the irresponsible dog owners will give this a 'thumbs down'.

Up 44 Down 27

Disgusted on Apr 2, 2015 at 12:30 pm

There is NO excuse for poisoning a dog. Period. I don't care how much of a nuisance a dog is there is no excuse for killing it.
I am so angry about this - how could someone do this to two innocent dogs? As a dog owner myself I have much sympathy for the family who lost their two gorgeous corgis. My dog is part of my family; her health and well being is a priority for me as I imagine these dogs were to their family. My deepest condolences to this family.

Up 42 Down 1

Had a Retreiver on Apr 2, 2015 at 10:04 am

We have been talking around the office today about this and almost all of us have a story of a suspected dog poisoning over the past few years in Whitehorse. In 2007 we lived in Porter Creek and our otherwise healthy dog all of a sudden just died. We were suspicious of poisoning but didn't report it. The day after he died, we found strange kibble in the yard and beside it were two dead grouse. 6 mos before that, our neighbour's dog, though pretty old, also died suddenly. Maybe someone should start collecting stories and see if there is a pattern of some kind?

Up 50 Down 66

I don't understand Dog haters on Apr 2, 2015 at 8:25 am

I am totally convinced that my dog was poisoned a couple of years ago. I live in Cooper Ridge and my dog will run away and explore as dogs are known to do once in awhile. Well my dog got home and that night he almost died. I took him to the vet the next day and was told that his liver function had been seriously compromised by something. A day later he was fine, this has happened twice. These people that are motivated to poison animals really should understand you are poisoning members of someone's family. There should be a strong law developed to deal with people that do these types of things.

Up 80 Down 27

poisoning is wrong-so is pissing off your neighbours on Apr 1, 2015 at 9:29 pm

Poisoning is wrong, and doing harm to animals is unacceptable. I think all Yukoners need to be more aware of their dogs being a nuisance too. If your dog is barking all the time, pooping in your neighbours yards, running after people walking down the street….you are not being a good neighbour. It's wrong for anybody to take matters into their own hands, but it's also wrong to think that your dog is allowed to do whatever you let it do. Keep control of your dog, be a good owner, and you probably won't make enemies with your neighbours. The Yukon has people who let their dogs crap on sidewalks without cleaning it up, run around in neighbourhoods bothering kids and people walking, yapping all hours of the day…maybe somebody out there is fed up with bad Yukon dog owners and taking it out on dogs. Sorry to the people whose dogs are dead too. I love my dog and I wish everybody could be a good dog owner.

Up 55 Down 2

rusty on Apr 1, 2015 at 7:36 pm

Condolences to whoever lost both their dogs to this whether it was intentional or not. Loosing a pup is always hard let alone 2.

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