Friday, September 28, 2012

Sheriff broadens dog poisoning investigation

Second suspected poisoning reported this week

Express Staff Writer

The Blaine County Sheriff’s Office has broadened its investigation into dog poisoning in the Lake Creek area north of Ketchum following a report earlier this week of a second animal possibly being poisoned.

Sheriff Gene Ramsey reported Monday that laboratory analysis confirmed that a 6-year-old American Staffordshire terrier named Skylar died of xylitol poisoning after eating tainted meat it found in the Lake Creek area on Aug. 17. Xylitol, commonly used as a sugar replacement, is safe for human consumption but can cause liver failure in dogs and other canines.

The second report came to the Sheriff’s Office on Monday when pro-wolf activist Lynne Stone complained that her dog, 12-year-old Bo, ingested tainted meat in the Lake Creek area on Aug. 23. Stone further reported that Bo recovered after being treated at Sun Valley Animal Center.

“We have a report, we’re going to add that to the file and continue to investigate this case,” Ramsey said Wednesday.

A sample of the meat Bo ingested has been provided to the Sheriff’s Office, but Ramsey said it was of a different nature than the meat ingested by Skylar.

“The one unique thing is the material’s different than the first batch,” the he said.

He noted that the two meat samples were found in different areas. The tainted meat eaten by Skylar was found about four miles east of the mouth of Lake Creek while the material ingested by Bo was found only about three-quarters of a mile up Lake Creek.

“That causes us more concern because it was close to the residential area,” Ramsey said.

The sheriff said that at this point he does not intend to have the second sample tested because of the expense and limited investigation funds.

“We want to make sure we have a case and can prosecute before we spend the money to have it analyzed,” he said.

Express staff writer Kate Wutz contributed to this report.

F&G drops investigation

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game has discontinued its investigation into whether poisoned meat found last month in the Lake Creek area north of Ketchum was an attempt to kill wolves.

Fish and Game Regional Supervisor Jerome Hanson said the agency was aware of a second report of possible dog poisoning, but noted that the Sheriff’s Office has the lead because the incident involved a domestic dog.

Fish and Game Enforcement Chief John Hagen said his department would only investigate if there were a threat to wildlife.

“This was a domestic dog and right now we don’t know that it was a crime against wildlife that would be under our jurisdiction,” Hagen said.


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