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Wednesday, July 28, 2004

News

Dog believed to be poisoned

Travelers in Sawtooth Valley should be wary of letting dogs run free


By GREG STAHL
Express Staff Writer

In an event starkly similar to poisonings in Yellowstone National Park and the Jackson, Wyo., area earlier this year, a dog was believed to be poisoned in Fisher Creek in the Sawtooth Valley, south of Obsidian, over the weekend.

The matter is under investigation, and there is not yet any concrete evidence. The belief, however, is that the dog ate poison bait that had been intended for gray wolves, said Craig Tabor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service law enforcement field supervisor.

"The logical presumption is that people are trying to poison wolves," Tabor said. "It is a presumption at this point. There are other scenarios out there."

Tabor said there was a fair amount of wolf activity in the Fisher Creek area last spring.

"Itís an area certainly that would be a candidate where a person or persons would be inclined to do something like that," Tabor said. "Weíre certainly looking at that as a strong possibility."

Tabor declined to release the name of the dog owners. He said the dog, a chocolate lab, died Saturday night at the Sun Valley Animal Center, south of Ketchum. Its owners had been camping about a mile and a half up Fisher Creek Road from state Highway 75.

Tabor recommended that people going camping in the Sawtooth Valley keep close track of their pets.

"Try not to let them go wandering off where youíd have difficulty keeping track of what they eat," he said.

Also, if a dog exhibits symptoms like frothing at the mouth, paralysis, seizures or confusion, it would be wise to immediately seek the help of a veterinarian.

"This dog here died, but there have been other instances where people getting a dog to a vet promptly after it consumed poisoned bait were able to save the dog," he said.

Tabor said that, if the chocolate lab was poisoned, it is unclear what kind of poison was used, or the method that was used to deploy it.

In Yellowstone and Jackson, a pesticide called Temik, which is commonly used to treat potatoes, has been found stuffed inside ground beef or hollowed-out hot dogs and sausages that had been scattered in forested areas.

"We donít know for sure in this case that the dog picked up a bait," Tabor stressed.

However, this is at least the second incident this year that a dog may have been poisoned in the Sawtooth Valley. Early in the spring, a dog was sickened near Lower Stanley.

"I donít think it was ever confirmed that it was poisoned, but the symptoms were very indicative of that," Tabor said.

Since March, more than two dozen cases have been reported in rural Wyoming of dogs consuming hot dogs or meat chunks laced with Temik and found by the sides of roads or trails. At least eight have died.


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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.





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