HENDERSON, Nev. (KLAS) — A dog owner, who found antifreeze-laced kibble in his backyard, said animal control officers and police could not investigate the attempted poisoning because he did not have information about a possible suspect.
At least four dogs have died from poisoning in The Lakes in the west Las Vegas valley over the past decade. On the other side of town, Steve Pollaro, of Henderson, said he found the tainted food in March.
Pollaro, who lives in a secluded neighborhood in Henderson that is not on a main street, had the kibble evaluated.
The meat found in the Lakes poisonings contained seeds laced with strychnine, a common pesticide for birds and rodents. It is deadly to dogs, bringing on seizures and internal bleeding leading to death.
Pollaro’s first dog, Margo, suddenly got sick several years ago and died, he said. Late last year, Dillon, now recovered, got sick, too. Pollaro and his wife have since added Mercy to their pack.
“And now when they come out one of us is always with them,” Pollaro said about letting his two dogs into his yard. “We can only bring them on a leash and that takes away a lot of enjoyment for them as well as us.”
The kibble from Pollaro’s yard tested positive for antifreeze, he said.
“It would be difficult to throw it from the street,” Pollaro said, showing the 8 News Now I-Team’s David Charns his property. “That’s when we contacted the police department and they sent us over to animal control.”
Pollaro said he then called Henderson police to report the attempted poisoning.
“We couldn’t understand,” he said. “We said, ‘could you at least come out and do a report?’ maybe that can make some people aware, and the results of that phone call was, ‘Well, we’re going to send you over to animal control.’”
Animal control followed up with Pollaro, but without any video or eyewitnesses, there was not much for officers to go on, a city spokesperson said.
“Well, we can’t really do anything,” Pollaro said as he summarized the conversation. “If you can catch who it is on tape, and let us know who it is, we’ll send a citation to them. Send a citation to somebody who is trying to kill things.”
Henderson police and a city spokesperson said officers will get involved if there is evidence for them to go on.
“Incidents where allegations of animal cruelty (like animal poisoning) may be involved, the incidents are first reported to the Henderson animal control officers,” a police spokesperson said in a statement. “If evidence was found that a crime has been committed and a suspect may be identified, the animal control officer would request a Henderson PD officer to respond and assist or assume the investigation.”
“The homeowner did not complete a witness statement, did not provide the lab results, and did not have any information about possible suspects,” a city spokesperson said about the incident. “Henderson Animal Control will use every available resource to investigate cases of animal cruelty. In this incident, there wasn’t any kind of physical evidence, video or eyewitness testimony, and no previous complaints from neighbors, for officers to investigate.”
Pollaro had cameras on his property before, but they did not catch the side of the yard where the kibble was located. He has since added more cameras.
With an inviting backyard to entertain friends and their children, Pollaro fears the worst.
“If it can kill a 50- or 60-pound dog, what about a 20-pound kid?” he said.
The I-Team asked Henderson police and the city for the number of reported poisonings, but it is not a statistic they track, they said.
Officials note not to let your dog eat anything off the street and to be aware of what may be in your yard. They also suggest installing cameras on your property.
Las Vegas Metro police tracks the statistic. There are no known dog poisonings so far this year, a spokesperson said. The dog poisonings and the attempted poisonings in The Lakes remain unsolved.
Sean Cornwall’s dog, Leia, died after ingesting the tainted meat in The Lakes. Since the latest death, Cornwall launched a GoFundMe page to raise money for a private detective. He also hopes the homeowners’ association and the city will install better street lights and trim back trees.
Cornwall has also raised a $10,000 reward with the help of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).