At least five pets in the south end of Penticton are believed to have become sick or died in the past month due to suspected poisonings.
Some pet owners in the area have told the Western News they are now on edge, but are worried about going on the record with their concerns for fear it will further endanger their animals’ safety.
One woman, who lives on McKenzie Street and agreed to be interviewed on condition of anonymity, said her small dog became ill with vomiting and diarrhea on June 27.
“He was so sick I thought he was going to die,” she said.
The woman immediately took her dog to a veterinarian, who was able to save the pet’s life with a host of medications to treat a super-inflated bowel. That cost her $800 and the vet wasn’t able to determine the suspected poison. A week later, with the dog having recovered its health, the woman was stunned when the pet retrieved from her backyard a wiener she suspects was tainted.
“Luckily, my dog just ran to me and brought it to me,” she said.
Around that same time, the woman heard from one of her neighbours, who said her dog had suffered a similar bout of sickness, while another neighbour related a story about a newspaper carrier finding a paralyzed cat lying on her driveway.
In both those cases, vets determined the animals had been poisoned, she added, bringing to three the total number of cases on McKenzie Street.
“I’m afraid,” she said. “I don’t put (the dog) out in the backyard without being supervised.”
Penticton RCMP spokesman Sgt. Rick Dellebuur was unable to locate reports about those three incidents, but said police were notified about two suspected animal poisonings on Atkinson Street on July 15.
One dog died and another became sick as a result of suspected poisonings, both of which were reported the same day, he said, adding it’s difficult for Mounties to make an arrest unless they catch a person in the act of placing poison.
Dellebuur said cases of animal poisonings typically arise when someone becomes fed up with a neighbour’s nuisance pet.
“It’s no different than a neighbourhood dispute over a fence or a noisy party or whatever,” he said.
“The unfortunate thing with this is an animal gets poisoned or dies and it’s not their fault. It goes back to the owner.”
Local animal cruelty investigators are also aware of the suspected poisonings, confirmed Corrine Ross, manager of the South Okanagan-Similkameen branch of the B.C. SPCA.
“We would suggest to the public living in this area to be extra vigilant,” Ross said via email.
“Keep their dogs with them at all times, keep them on a leash in all public places, check around their own properties and don’t let them eat anything from the ground.”
She noted any suspicious activity or food items should be reported to the RCMP or the SPCA’s cruelty hotline by calling 1-855-622-7722.