Dog sickened after eating rat poison in Cal Anderson Park

A Capitol Hill dog was sickened Tuesday after eating what appears to be rat poison left near the playground in Cal Anderson Park.

Eva Gisellse tells CHS she was walking her dog Data in the park around 6 PM on Monday when the blue heeler ate an unknown substance. After Data became sick Tuesday morning, Gisellse retrieved the green substance and took her dog to Urban Animal at Broadway and E Thomas.

An Urban Animal spokesperson told CHS the substance was almost certainly rat poison, but veterinarians are awaiting final test results for confirmation. Thankfully, Data is recovering in her Capitol Hill apartment.

“We recommend that anyone walking a dog in the area makes sure it does not eat anything off the ground,” said Jen Pohlman, operations manager at Urban Animal. Of course, the same goes for humans.

UPDATE (7/20): After being notified of the incident, Seattle Parks had its pest control contractor check the roughly 20 rat poison traps that were set around Cal Anderson Park earlier this year. According to Parks spokesperson Christina Hirsch, there was no evidence of tampering on the traps, which are designed to keep poison away from dogs and children. “All of the traps were locked and all of the traps have been regularly serviced,” she said.

Data is recovering nicely. (Image: Eva Gisselle)

Data in recovery on Capitol Hill. (Image: Eva Gisselle)

Pohlman said Data is the first case Urban Animal has seen of a dog eating rat poison in park since the office opened four years ago.

“I’m glad I caught it in time, she should be fine,” Gisellse said. “I’ve heard that people are taking the rat problem at Cal Anderson into their own hands by putting down poison, but I don’t know who.”

UPDATE: A Seattle Parks spokesperson tells CHS a pest control contractor installed some 60 20 rat poison traps around Cal Anderson Park in February. Teal colored bait was locked inside the traps which are “designed in a way to prevent dogs from accessing the bait,” the spokesperson said. It is unclear if the poison ingested by Data came from the traps. The pest management company will be inspecting the bait stations Wednesday morning, according the parks official.

At least one dog died and others fell sick in Snohomish County from eating rat poison left in a park earlier this year. Snohomish County Animal Control investigated the death as an intentional poisoning.

To report animal welfare issues, contact the Seattle Animal Shelter at (206) 386-7387. 

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10 thoughts on “Dog sickened after eating rat poison in Cal Anderson Park

  1. “We recommend that anyone walking a dog in the area makes sure it does not eat anything off the ground,”

    good advice whether you are in the park or just walking down the sidewalk. watch/control your pets and make sure they don’t just eat some unknown substance.

  2. This is one reason I don’t like seeing dogs walked on those long retractable leashes (not stating that is the case here) as walkers can’t clearly see if the the dog picks up something up or pull them back if they’re about to when they’re 20+ feet away. People keep your dogs at your side and watch them!

  3. Probably a good reason not not let your dog off-eash, other than in an off-leash area, which Cal Anderson is not.

  4. Rat poison is not cool on Capitol Hill because we have raptors which may be killed by eating poisoned rats. I live next to a nest of Cooper’s Hawks who are raising 3 or 4 fledglings this year.

    The photo on Twitter and the reference to “teal colored bait” look like the product “Contrac Blox” whose active ingredient is bromadiolone, a “2nd generation” pesticide considered harmful to non-target species such as predatory birds. This product is now banned for residential consumers, but there are loopholes allowing exterminators still to use it. This article has more info:

    http://www.audubon.org/magazine/january-february-2013/poisons-used-kill-rodents-have-safer

    I will be emailing the Parks Dept. about this. Maybe they can comment on here to explain their rat control program and whether it poses risks to raptors, in addition to dogs.

  5. From personal experience, I can attest that sometimes a dog can eat something off the ground in a “blink of the eye,” even when leashed, and before the owner has a chance to react and prevent it from happening.

  6. I don’t believe their contractor did what they say. Yesterday I saw a dead rat near the I5 colonnade park with an open gut full of bright green rat poison. Crows were picking at it, and I wouldn’t be surprised if outdoor cats in the neighborhood came into contact with it. This resembles situations where pest controllers just sprinkle lumps of poison around the bushes, rather than setting actual traps. A similar situation happened around I Love Sushi a year or two ago.

  7. Sometimes it’s not possible to stop your beloved pet from chowing down on something in the blink of an eye, no matter how attentive you are! Anyways, regardless, the rat poison shouldn’t’ve been lying out in the open, for numerous reasons.

    Get well soon, Data!