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Series of Dog Deaths Put California Community on High Alert

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In the past 24 hours, Fresno County Humane Animal Services have picked up 5 dogs, four that were already deceased and one barely clinging to life, from a single California neighborhood.

It quickly became apparent when a veterinarian examined the one dog that was still barely alive, that he’d somehow ingested rat poison.

“It’s a neurotoxin and so it causes brain swelling, acts rather quickly and it’s almost always fatal,” said Brenda Mitchell of Fresno Humane Animal Services.

Veterinarians were unable to save the dog who became the 5th victim of what investigators are trying to determine was either an accidental or intentional bromethalin poisoning. Bromethalin is a relatively new chemical available at most hardware stores, but, unlike traditional rat poisons, there is no antidote.

Residents of the neighborhood suspect the poisonings are intentional, as stray dogs are a frequent sight in the neighborhood. But investigators say it’s possible someone is simply trying to control rats, without realizing that what they’re doing is killing dogs.

Animal Services is urging anyone walking their own dogs in the area to be careful and, if they suspect their dog has been exposed, to immediately go to a veterinarian.

Meanwhile, anyone witnessing suspicious activity or with information about an intentional act should contact area police and animal services.

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