LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — At least four dogs have been poisoned and killed in The Lakes in the west Las Vegas valley, prompting one pet owner to now raise money for a private investigator.
“Every day, I used to let them out and they had free roam of the yard,” Sean Cornwall said about his four Shih Tzus. “Now, we only let them out when we’re out here with them.”
Cornwall’s home abuts a stone wall off a major street through The Lakes. His dog Leia died about three years ago after she ate a ball of meat that was thrown over their fence.
The meat 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.
“I think they’re looking for dogs, making a mental note and going back and throwing stuff over the wall,” Cornwall said about the person’s tactic.
In the past eight years, four dogs in the neighborhood have been poisoned. Several others have eaten the tainted meat but survived with emergency care.
The last-known poisoning was in November, but Cornwall worries some dog deaths may be due to the tainted meat, but owners are just not aware of the connection.
“I think for sure that this guy is still is active,” Cornwall said. “Maybe not on my street right now, because everyone is looking out for it.”
Cornwall installed a vast network of cameras pointing into his yard and into the street behind him. There are also the four live-in security guards that may be deterring the serial dog slayer.
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.
“This person has evaded law enforcement for close to eight years,” the GoFundMe page reads. “We need to take things into our own hands if we are going to catch this person.”
Cornwall has also raised a $10,000 reward with the help of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
“It’s very hard to catch this perpetrator because it seems that he comes and he goes, Councilwoman Victoria Seaman, who represents Ward 2, which includes Cornwall’s neighborhood, said.
Seaman said Metro police are working the case, but it may be a neighbor who sees something out of place that could lead to the case being closed.
“We need your eyes and your ears,” Seaman said, “If you see someone in any area throwing food or something over a fence, please contact law enforcement.”
Cornwall fears the person may have moved to another area of town. He also noted killing and harming animals is a gateway to other more heinous crimes.
“I seriously think this person is a psychopath,” he said. “This is where they start: birds, cats, dogs, and they work their way up, through the progression to humans.”
Metro police have previously told 8 News Now that the situation is being investigated by the Summerlin Area Command.
Officials note not to let your dog eat anything off the street and to be aware of what may be in your yard.