Dogs poisoned in couple?s backyard
By REN LANZONnewsroom@gladstoneobserver.com.au
TODDLER Jye has lost two and maybe three of his pet friends to a sadistic killer.
But he may be lucky he is not a victim himself.
Police have warned residents to ensure their children and pets did not pick up any unidentified food following the poisoning of two dogs at different times over the weekend.
Christina Smith, of Ceri Court, arrived home on Friday afternoon to find one of the three dogs, Gizmo, which she had previously locked up in her garage, out on the street.
'I let her in and she sprawled out on the floor and was dead in about 10 minutes,' she said.
Ms Smith, who is expecting a baby in two weeks, said watching the dog die in front of her now causes her to become physically sick every time she approaches the house. ' My partner and I have decided to move because of this. I worry what might have happened if Jye had picked up the bait,' she said.
Ms Smith said neither she nor her partner, Keith Austin, who owned Gizmo and another dog, Gypsy, paid much attention to the death at first and did not report the matter to police.
'But because of the poisoning, before I went out the next day (Saturday), I locked up Gypsy and my own german short-haired pointer Rusty to keep them safe.'
She returned during the day and again, before going out, she locked up the remaining animals.
'But when Keith got home about 3.30pm that day he found Gypsy dead on the back patio and my Rusty was missing, so it looks like they made a second attempt to poison our dogs.'
She said because of this the police made a thorough investigation of the poisonings and sent out a fingerprint expert to try to find prints.
The dead dogs were also taken away for autopsies which found they had died of strychnine poison.
Ms Smith has since found out that people who lived in the rented house before them also had their dogs poisoned.
The autopsy on the dead dogs was performed by Sun Valley Nursery. Veterinarian Scott McAuley said strychnine caused a painful but rapid death of about 10 to 30 minutes.
'It is a violent death because all the muscles go into intense spasm that tires the victim so that they can't breath and they die of asphyxiation,' he said.
He said few animals survived.
'If a pet is seen swallowing a bait, an attempt could be made to make them vomit, but they would have to be quick,' he said.
Sergeant Roger Williams of Gladstone police has issued a warning about the poisonings because of the threat to children and pets.
He also urged anyone who had information that could help police to phone 4971 3222.