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Saturday, Jun 26, 2004County: Hamilton
Suspect(s) Unknown - We need your help!
Anyone with information about the recent poisoning of dogs in Coolidge now has another reason to speak up.
The Humane Society of the United States has announced a $2,500 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction in the cases of one dog killed and another nearly killed in recent months by the commercial insecticide Carbofuran and Furadan.
Diane Webber, director of the group's Midwest regional office, said there are four rewards out right now in the office's five-state area.
"We do that all the time in cases where animals' lives are at stake or have been taken," she said.
One of the few limitations, she said, is the group checks with local law enforcement to see if it is receptive to the idea. In this case, Hamilton County Under Sheriff Michael Keating definitely was.
Keating said his office is not directly sponsoring the reward.
"However, I'm grateful they're offering the reward because it may produce results I have not been able to produce," he said.
In March, a border collie belonging to Bruce and Maxine Hines of Coolidge was found dead in the couple's yard. Late last month, the couple's blue heeler was taken to a veterinarian for poisoning and managed to survive.
Keating said the fast-acting insecticide, used in white or purple grain form or liquid form, was found in both toxicology reports. He said the second report indicated the dog had been given "enough material to kill a pile of dogs."
Though there are two reports, Keating said he believes there are at least 10 dogs that have been poisoned indoors and outdoors, and the latest reports indicate the poison was hidden in a hot dog.
"Four of these dogs have been attacked in their own homes," he said.
Keating said there doesn't seem to be a pattern, and he suspects the person might have begun the poisonings in October to get rid of specific animals. He said the suspect might be trying to see how many he or she can kill without getting caught.
When poisoned, Keating said, dogs die slow deaths with uncontrollable vomiting and diarrhea, as well as confusion and dementia. Aside from the nature of the crimes, Keating said, the power of the toxin, still toxic after it is expelled from the body, is disturbing.
"This is a very dangerous material to be throwing around," he said.
Keating said a canvass of the community of 90 to 100 people have turned up no leads.
"I hate to admit this, but I'm running out of directions to go," he said.
Webber said the cases in rural areas can be difficult because everyone knows everyone, and some might not want to speak up.
But, Keating said, he intends to keep looking and put together a case with consecutive crimes with consecutive sentences.
"The statute of limitations gives me two years to build a case for the prosecution," he said.
Anyone with information can call Keating's office at (620) 384-5616.
If you have information on this case, please contact:
Sheriff Michael Keating Office
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