Friday, April 12, 2013

Sheriff: Meat pile likely poison bait

Dog walkers advised to keep animals on leash

Express Staff Writer

Wolf advocate Lynne Stone collects some ground beef she discovered Wednesday morning near Corral Creek, east of Sun Valley. She believes the meat was poisoned before being dumped. Photo by Roland Lane

    A dog walker and pro-wolf activist said she found what appears to be poisoned meat near Corral Creek, east of Sun Valley, on Wednesday, and the Blaine County Sheriff’s Office is encouraging people to keep their dogs on leashes as a result.
    Lynne Stone said she found roughly two pounds of fresh hamburger on Wednesday morning near the barricade that closes off Corral Creek Road during the winter. Stone said she had gone to walk her dog when she noticed the strange pile.
    “It obviously didn’t belong there and had intentionally been put there,” she said. “I have no idea if it was tainted or not.”
    Stone said she was suspicious of the meat because of an incident in August when her dog ate some strange meat in Lake Creek, north of Ketchum, that was later found to contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener poisonous to canines. The dog threw up the meat and survived, though another dog did die as a result of also consuming meat in the area.
    Sheriff Gene Ramsey said one of his officers went out to investigate the meat at Corral Creek. The meat wasn’t frozen, he said, which meant that it had been dumped recently, and he said there was nothing visibly wrong with it.
    “It appeared to be very fresh, good meat,” he said. “No one would just go and dump it there unless it was intended for some other reason.”
    Ramsey said he decided not to have the meet analyzed for poison, though be believes that the meat likely was meant to be toxic.
    “I don’t feel right about spending a whole bunch of money on toxicology,” he said. “It doesn’t resolve anything for the future. [But] it was probably meant to be a poison.”
    Ramsey said the investigation is still open, but it would be difficult to track a hamburger purchase. It is against Idaho law to intentionally put out poisoned meat, but Ramsey said no animals appear to have been poisoned and the meat was not disturbed.
    Stone said she saved samples of the meat and plans to raise money to get it analyzed.
    Ramsey said he encourages dog walkers in the area to keep dogs on a leash at least until they get deeper into the forest, as all of the meat has been found near roads or trailheads. He also said dog owners should be on the lookout for symptoms of xylitol poisoning, which include lethargy, vomiting and diarrhea.

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