There’s now little doubt that five dogs that died suddenly in Cumberland County last month ate balls of meat that someone deliberately tainted with poison, authorities said.
Tests are back after tainted meatballs killed the canines along remote walking trails in the Dividing Creek area in Downe Township.
“With these lab results, we have proof this was not an accident,” said Bev Greco from the Cumberland County SPCA.
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Just-released tests reveal that the bait balls contained high-concentrations of granular Carbofuran -- an agricultural pesticide regarded as one of the most toxic pesticides in the world.
“The way it was put in the meat samples, it was very targeted,” said Greco. “There was a large amount in the samples.”
Officials say you need a special license to use that pesticide in New Jersey.
Three families were devastated after their dogs died violently after eating the bait meat.
Joan Jerdel’s Golden Retriever Raymond died on Feb. 10 after he gulped down a tennis ball-sized hunk of raw meat that he found along the trail, according to Jerdel.
Michelle Jenkins' dogs suffered a similar fate the next day after eating bait meat in the same area, she said.
Another man came forward a couple weeks later saying his dogs died in a similar way after eating meat around the same time as the other pets.
Authorities know now what killed the pups but the culprit remains on the loose.
State environmental authorities are now working with the Cumberland County SPCA to track down the culprit.
“Now it’s a matter of trying to find out exactly how this product was used, who it’s used by, and who might have done it,” said Greco.
More about the poison could be found out once a second round of tests on the meat come back, officials said.
“Our highest hopes from our family and the community is that this devious perpetrator is found out and punished to the fullest extent of the law,” Jerdel said. “Our family is distraught about the loss of our dog.”
More than $2,000 in reward money is being offered for information leading to an arrest in the case. Anyone with details about who could be behind the poisoned meat should contact the Cumberland County SPCA.
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