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Warning: Dog poisonings reported in Snohomish County


January 18, 2016

There have been four confirmed cases of dog poisonings in Snohomish County from November through January.

Residents have been reporting possible dog poisonings at Snohomish County Parks. One animal death has been confirmed so far.

Park rangers are investigating reports of dog poisonings throughout the county, including at Willis Tucker Park and Tambark Creek Park, from November through January, according to the Snohomish County Parks Department.

Four cases have been confirmed: One dog was reportedly poisoned at Willis Tucker, while three more had likely been poisoned not at parks but in private yards – two in Marysville and one in Lake Stevens.

The dog that visited Willis Tucker on Thanksgiving reportedly died that same day.

“We have asked our park rangers to investigate this issue,” county Executive Dave Somers said. “The one case reported to us of a dog poisoning at Willis Tucker Park on Thanksgiving Day more than likely did occur.”

Snohomish County has off-leash dog areas at Willis Tucker Park in Snohomish, Tambark Creek Park in Mill Creek, Cavelero Hill Park in Lake Stevens and Lake Stickney Community Park in Lynnwood.

Park rangers visited five animal hospitals in the county and one groomer on Jan. 13. While most veterinarians and groomers had only seen information about the poisonings on Facebook, one had received several calls about sick animals.

The head veterinarian at the Animal Hospital at Murphy’s Corner in Mill Creek told investigators that three sick dogs had recently visited the off-leash dog area at Willis Tucker Park.

The hospital had received three phone calls Jan. 9 regarding sick dogs with foaming white gums.

Investigators followed up with the pet owners and found that a dog had died on Thanksgiving Day after playing in the off-leash dog area at Willis Tucker Park.

Three more dogs reportedly became ill in the days following a visit to Willis Tucker, although it was determined that the animals were likely poisoned in private yards and not at county parks.

While the county has received more reports of possible poisonings at county parks, Somers said, only four cases have been confirmed by local animal hospitals so far.

The rangers didn’t specify what kind of poison the dogs may have ingested; however, a Dog Safety report from the county mentions antifreeze and rat poison. It also is unknown how the dogs were poisoned.

The Snohomish County Parks Department continues to investigate.

According to PetMD and Pet Hospital Hotline, dogs that have been poisoned may experience gastrointestinal symptoms, such as loss of appetite or excessive drooling, and symptoms of internal bleeding, such as a rapid heartbeat or coughing up blood.

Kidney and liver failure also are common, and symptoms include decreased urination, bad breath, jaundice or yellow gums, black stool, and changes in behavior, vomiting, tremors and seizures, rapid heartbeat and diarrhea.

Other symptoms can include paralysis in the back legs, impaired movement and muscle tremors.

If your dog is showing one or more of these symptoms, seek immediate treatment at a local animal hospital.

The Parks Department recommends that pet owners keep their dogs in view at all times, whether at a dog park or in your own backyard.

If you see something suspicious, call 425-388-6600 or email SCParksRec@gmail.com. For more information, go to http://www.snohomishcountywa.gov/200/Parks-Recreation and click on “Dog Safety.”


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