Dog lovers in a Manhattan neighborhood are on edge after a man said his beloved puppy accidentally gobbled up poison during one of their walks and is now dead.
Ralph Edwards said no one could resist the infectious energy of his 7-month-old Rottweiler pup named Cali during their daily walks through his Washington Heights neighborhood.
“She was a handful and would bark if she had to go to the bathroom, it was hilarious. Like, with an attitude,” Edwards said.
It was during one of their walks near Cabrini Boulevard and West 181st Street that Edwards suspects the puppy gobbled up something she shouldn’t have: rat poison.
“Her kidneys were failing, her liver was failing as well,” the dog owner said.
Within three days, Cali went from acting lethargic and not eating — to needing thousands of dollars worth of dialysis to survive. Edwards and his wife ultimately decided they had to put her down, saying they could see in Cali’s face how much pain she was in .
“I did what I could to save her. Obviously money didn’t save her,” said Edwards. “Maybe it’s just someone trying to get rid of the rodents, and is doing about it the wrong way….I don’ t think someone is maliciously doing it — you know, throwing it out like it’s salt for snow.”
“Leash aggression” is a common problem among dogs, but behavioral training can help.
The puppy with unlimited energy is now a memory, and her death is a warning to other dog owners in the area. Now neighbors are raising the alarm, posting flyers in the area reminding people to mindful of where they are walking their dog — and what The dog may be picking up from the ground.
“We tend to see increases in these exposures when the weather gets cold because that’s when rats come inside,” said Dr. Tina Wismer, who runs the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center. “There are three major types of rat poison: Some cause internal bleeding, some cause kidney failure and some cause seizures.”
Wismer said 80 percent of poisoned dogs who get medical treatment recover after being poisoned – but that all depends on how quickly dog owners seek medical help and how toxic the rat poison is.
Her advice for dog owners: Be vigorous about where your dog is sniffing and what it might ingest when you’re out on a walk. For dogs that like to eat everything in sight and stick their nose in the ground, Dr. Wismer suggests getting a muzzle.