The Nebraska Humane Society is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the poisoning death of two pet dogs.
According to Dale and Vicki Wagner, they let their two dogs outside in their fenced in back yard near 64th and Ellison Thursday morning, November 15th. The dogs, Bella (pug/beagle mix) and Peanut (Chihuahua) were only outside for a few minutes when the Wagner’s noticed both dogs extremely ill. The dogs were rushed in for treatment; however, they died shortly after getting sick.
"They were both just lovable dogs, they were babies," says Vicki. "We have no kids left and they were babies. I'm very, very sad. I mean, they were part of our family and our house is empty. It’s sad. I'm angry because they were our babies. Whatever happened, I don't understand why somebody could do something like this."
Nebraska Humane Society investigators found a light-colored meat in the back yard. After laboratory testing, officials learned Tuesday the meat contained evidence of strychnine, which is extremely poisonous for humans or dogs.
The Wagners' yard borders North 65th Street. Anyone walking or driving by could easily have thrown the tainted meat over the fence and into the yard. The Nebraska Humane Society has received no complaints on these dogs and both were legally licensed and vaccinated.
“Someone decided to throw some tainted meat into this back yard, tainted with strychnine,” said the Humane Society’s Mark Langan. “The two dogs went for the meat and within minutes were in medical distress and died. This is not the first poisoning case that we've had. This happens more than people realize."
Cori Ellis is well aware of that. She lives down the street from the Wagners and she always keeps a very close eye on her three dogs. “Years ago, Michelle was a poodle that was poisoned in the back (yard) so we've had dogs that’s been poisoned."
"What people fail to realize is when you throw strychnine-laced meat onto the back yard and the dogs go through a long, torturous death,” said Langan. “That’s a felony, we could push felony charges for this of the torture and we would push a felony charge based on torture and state statue that’s punishable by up to five years in prison.”
Humane Society officials say another poisoning was reported on November 29th. In that case, a dog being walked on a leash in the area of Meadowbrook Estates at 151st and E streets ate dried cat food that was covered in rat poison. Four similar piles were found on sidewalks in the area.
Per Omaha City Ordinance 6-79, it is illegal to set out any type of poison deemed harmful to animals. Anyone with information about the poisonings is asked to call the Nebraska Humane Society at 402-444-7800, extension 1.