BEMIDJI-One dog has died and three others are still being treated for strychnine poisoning.
The Beltrami County Sheriff's Office responded to a report Tuesday of several dogs being poisoned on the 1900 block of Grange Road Northwest, according to an incident report. The pet owner informed law enforcement she had returned returned home after a few hours to find her dogs acting sick.
According to the report, a veterinarian told the woman the cause is believed to be from strychnine, a rodent poison not sold over the counter and not widely available. The pet owner said she does not currently use any chemical rodent poison and hasn't done so in a long time. Her larger dog, a lab, did not exhibit any symptoms of poisoning leading her to believe poison was placed in the kennel where her four other dogs spent time.
No suspects have been named, however the pet owner wanted to notify law enforcement in case similar calls were received.
Tom Charboneau, community service officer for the Bemidji Police Department, said poisoning animals is a felony offense punishable by law. Charboneau said a few years ago there was a case in which strychnine was being placed in hamburger balls and given to dogs and cats in a Bemidji trailer park. Charboneau identified the suspects and pressed charges, he said.
Charboneau said it can be difficult to maintain control of what pets eat when they are unrestrained on a property but it is important to keep control of pets' food and water supply.
"Always keep food and water in a secure spot," Charboneau said. "There's no excuse for what these people are doing, but the more responsibility we take as pet owners, the safer they will be."
Charboneau added while walking pets in a park or neighborhood, don't let your pets eat anything that you don't know its origin.