$5,000 reward offered after possible dog poisoning, 11 cases

COLUMBUS, Ohio — There are worries over possible poisoning of pets in the north part of Columbus.

Local animal advocates say the suspicious death of a dog last week has led to a growing concern, and as many as 11 suspicious cases in the same part of town.

Elaine Putnam showed 10TV a letter she received in the mail last May.

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It was addressed to “Fat Girl and Brats,” and read, “Hey Fat Girl, you better figure out a way to stop your f****** dog from barking in the backyard all day or it will get a couple of rat poisoned meat balls. You Decide. Welcome to Melrose Street.”

“I was so scared,” Putnam said. “Not only for my dog, but for my three young children. They are 5 and under and one has autism and likes to put things in his mouth. But he loves to play outside, so you know, any of them could have gotten hurt if there was any kind of poison in my backyard.”

She filed a report with Columbus Police, who she says told her they couldn’t do much.

Then last week, she says police came to her door asking about her neighbor’s dog, who had possibly been poisoned.

“I was like, ‘What happened to the dog? I think I know what this is.’ They were like, ‘Bleeding from the nose and the mouth.’ I was like, ‘I definitely know what this is. I got a letter a few months ago about my dog being threatened with rat poison.'”

Columbus Humane says it is investigating the death of Elaine’s neighbor’s dog, and waiting on the results of a necropsy — an autopsy for animals.

But a separate case this week caught the attention of the staff at the Franklin County Dog Shelter.

“The dog had symptoms, neurological symptoms. really sick, which our team suspected at that time of possibly being poisoned,” said Director Kay Dickson.

She says those two cases, plus hearing about the letter sent to Elaine, prompted her staff to dig deeper.

“That’s when we went back and started pulling everything from that zip code that we personally had contact with dogs in that area.”

Between Elaine’s zip code 43224 and neighboring zip code 43211, they found 11 cases of dogs showing symptoms of possible poisoning, all within just the last year.

“There’s definitely a concern in that area,” said Dickson. “And if I had a pet out in that area, I would definitely be very cautious in letting them out without me by their side. Same thing with my children.”

“It’s heartbreaking and it’s scary and it’s frustrating,” said Putnam. “That someone is actually taking the steps to not only threaten people, but actually follow through with those threats.”

Columbus Humane is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in this case.

Anyone with information should call 614-777-PETS, extension 250.