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Two pet dogs are recovering after eating something that may have been illegally dumped in the community of Gaspereaux.
Kings District RCMP is investigating the incident, which took place on Sunday.
Sgt. Chris Gunn said the detachment received a complaint that the dogs got sick after consuming something dumped on the side of the St. Mary’s Bay Road where a number of cottages are located.
“We attended the area, and the initial investigation is that it looked like someone has been dumping garbage illegally," Gunn said.
“The dogs got into that illegally dumped garbage and consumed something. We are attempting to track down, through tips, who may have dumped (the) garbage illegally."
The two dogs that consumed the substance were immediately rushed to the Atlantic Veterinary College by their owners. Both dogs survived and are home with their owners and on medication.
Tracy MacKay of Charlottetown is one of those owners. Her family has a cottage on St. Mary’s Bay Road.
“We were walking down the road beside the cottage (Sunday) night when our chocolate lab, Duff, suddenly picked up a scent and darted into the ditch," said MacKay, who is a nurse.
“He had eaten something quickly … within two hours he suddenly started displaying neurological symptoms like loss of limb co-ordination and seemed not to know where he was. He was panting, drooling and had vomited," she said.
"Luckily for us, I saw morsels of red meat. We had not fed our dog any red meat. We quickly tore off for the AVC, hoping and praying the whole way that he would survive. It was a very stressful drive. My husband, Todd, and I were just beside ourselves, hoping he didn’t start seizing before we got there, which he didn’t."
She said Todd described what Duff ate as a “jelly-like meat substance".
MacKay said she received a call from a doctor at the college early Monday morning saying that another dog from St. Mary’s Road had come in with the same symptoms.
The other dog MacKay is talking about is Joe Thompson’s dog, Bowie, a one-year-old lab mix.
Thompson, who lives in the community year-round, said Bowie was frothing at the mouth and not able to stand.
“We couldn’t figure out for the life of us what he got into," Thompson said.
“I wanted to find out, chemically, what he got into, but they couldn’t tell me. They just said it was a toxic chemical of some sort."
Thompson said he went back to the area where both dogs had consumed the mysterious product, but all he found was something that appeared to be grease on the ground.
He took a shovel to it and buried it so none of the other dogs in the area would get into it.
He said there are at least seven residents with dogs living there year-round, and more come with seasonal cottagers.
“I don’t know if it’s just somebody randomly throwing crap out the window because, at our beach there, people have a tendency to dump garbage down there. Sometimes I’ll go down there and see random bags of garbage that people choose to dump," Thompson said.
"I don’t know if (this) was intentional. I’d like to think it wasn’t intentional."
MacKay says she is convinced the dogs were poisoned deliberately.
“Don’t think we’ll ever prove anything but … how does fresh, raw meat and poison come together on their own?" she said.
The AVC wouldn't comment about the cases to The Guardian, and Gunn said RCMP have no evidence, at least yet, that indicates anyone attempted to poison the dogs.
The P.E.I. Humane Society is also investigating the incident.
Christopher Newell, animal care manager for the society, said Tuesday the toxicology reports aren’t back yet so they can’t confirm what the dogs consumed.
Newell is asking anyone who knows about this or any incident where they suspect a companion animal has been poisoned to contact the society or RCMP.
“We would also like to remind the public to be vigilant and be wary of their animals eating strange things while outside," Newell said.
“The best way to do this is to keep the dog on a leash. If their pet does eat something strange and becomes ill, they should speak with their veterinarian about treatment right away."