June 25, 2010 in City

Dog killed by poisoned sausage on trail

By The Spokesman-Review
 
How to help

Anyone with information on the case can contact Matt Haag, a senior conservation officer for the state Department of Fish and Game, at (208) 946-0671. Anonymous tips will be accepted, Haag said.

Haag said hikers should remain cautious along the trail. A sign at the trailhead warns about the problem.

Idaho wildlife officials are asking for help in finding the person who placed poisonous sausage along a hiking trail north of Clark Fork.

One dog was killed and three others were sickened after they ate the tainted meat while their owners hiked along the trail.

Last week, results from a test confirmed that the sausage, which was eaten by the dogs in April, was laced with Carbaryl, an insecticide that is illegal to use except to kill insects, said Matt Haag, a senior conservation officer for the state Department of Fish and Game.The route, along the east fork of Lightning Creek, is a former forest road that washed out in a 2007 flood. It reopened in November as a hiking trail, Haag said. Wildlife officials suspect that the person who placed the sausage was targeting carnivorous wildlife, such as grizzlies or wolves, which live in the area.

“Whatever somebody’s agenda is, this certainly isn’t the way to do it,” said Mary Franzel, whose 7-year-old German shepherd, Chumani, died.

Franzel, a nurse who lives in Clark Fork, brought her four dogs with her on a hike on April 23. About 1:30 p.m., she noticed they had come across what turned out to be the poisoned sausage, Franzel said Thursday. She got them away from the meat and continued on. The dogs were fine when they got back to her car a few hours later, she said. But when they arrived home, Chumani was foaming at the mouth and having seizures. “In less than 15 minutes, he was dead,” Franzel said.

Soon after, another dog began to have seizures. She rushed her dogs to a vet in Sandpoint, the ill dog recovered.

Haag said different hikers’ dogs got sick after eating sausage on April 7 and April 31. After the poisonings were publicized, a man reported that he had been on the trail on March 15 and noticed the sausage but thought it was animal intestines, Haag said.

The trail was searched for sausage in the days after the poisonings and several pieces were found – some as long as 4 feet, Haag said.

The Lightning Creek incidents are among several recent dog poisoning cases in the Inland Northwest.

“We don’t have any reason to believe that they’re connected,” Haag said.

Also in April, an Athol woman’s dog died of suspected poisoning.

Three dogs died Feb. 19 at two locations on Spokane’s South Hill. Officials believe they ate meatballs laced with strychnine.

In January 2009, a Sandpoint family’s two dogs died after ingesting raw meat laced with strychnine.

More than a dozen dogs died earlier this year in Salmon, Idaho, after being poisoned with Compound 1080, which is sometimes used to kill predators of livestock.

Haag said he has received no reports of wildlife dying from the sausage. He added, however, that it would take several hours for a large animal to die from the poison – long enough for them to roam far from where the meat was placed.

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