Hayden man loses four dogs to suspected poisoning

Residents of a Hayden neighborhood are keeping a closer eye on their dogs after one pet owner reported suspicions that someone poisoned all four of his dogs.

“Just when you get comfortable leaving your dog outside,” he said. “It’s just awful.” Losing a pet is always painful, he added. “But when you find out that someone murdered all four of your dogs, that changes everything,” he said. Donald Dupree, who lives on 560 Myrick Road in Warrior, lost four of his dogs within three weeks.

It started one day in September when Donald Dupree noticed his black lab wasn’t her usual self. She seemed lethargic and had little appetite. Donald took his dog to a vet in Cleveland who asked if the dog could have consumed poison. “The dog was bleeding internally and in such pain,” stated Dupree. “She died a few days later.”

Just a week later, Dupree noticed his other lab wasn’t eating. The next day, he couldn’t walk and seemed to have trouble breathing. When they took him to the vet in Cullman, the vet said that he, too, had been poisoned.

The story doesn’t end there. Just a few weeks later, Dupree lost his bulldog and another lab with similar medical problems. After weeks of investigation, Dupree discovered that his dogs died after drinking antifreeze and eating rat poison that a neighbor had left out to kill troublesome rodents. The neighbor had put out the poison on his porch in plain view and very accessible to pets and wildlife.

Now Dupree wants to warn other pet owners of the dangers of leaving these types of poisons in places where pets or wildlife can get to them.

“My dogs were my best friends. They did not deserve this kind of treatment. No animal deserves this,” says Dupree. “There are other methods for catching rodents. I don’t think people understand what these types of poisons can do to an animal.”

According to the Humane Society, ingesting antifreeze and rat poison can be life-threatening for pets, depending on the weight of the animal, the amount of poison, and how quickly treatment is started. They die a painful death – by bleeding internally.