Warnings go up at dog parks

2 p.m. update: Temporary signs have been posted at local dog parks alerting pet owners to reports of chemically laced bread being left on the ground.

Reports of contaminated buns or doughnuts and an odour of anti-freeze are unconfirmed by the City of Kelowna and Kelowna RCMP.

“The signs are going up just to make sure dog owners monitor their pets at all times,” said Parks Services Manager Ian Wilson. “We have investigated the reports, but couldn’t confirm there was any contaminated bread left in the Glenmore or Rutland dog parks.”

Wilson says the RCMP have been made aware of the allegation and he urges pet owners to keep a lookout and to immediately report anything suspicious.

Kelowna Parks staff have followed up with a local veterinarian about a dog that was reportedly poisoned last weekend and the veterinarian indicated that testing showed no evidence of poison.

Here is a letter from one of our readers talking about the issue: 

'In June I took my two Cocker Spaniels to the dog park on Richter Road (the old KSS property). Later, both dogs started vomiting blood and had bloody diarrhea.

We rushed them to Burtch animal hospital were they put on IV and medications and kept and monitored for a couple of days.
We were lucky they survived.

Dr. Mundy told me that he has had lots of sick dogs with the same symptoms over the past week.

We did not see our dogs eat anything, but that is not to say that they did not find something in the grassy areas, but both dogs did drink out of the water pails at the park.

We did not go back to the Richter Dog Park again until the end of August. While at the park that day, only one of our dogs drank from the water pails.

He ended up with a high Fever and vomiting, I immediately took him to Burtch Animal Hospital.

After examining him Dr. Mundy asked if he had gotten into “Antifreeze”.

The only thing that we notice was that he drank out of the water pails at the dog park and the dog who didn’t drink at the park was not sick.
We are not going to dog parks anymore.
Trudi Parr-Pearson'

A wave of dog poisonings have been reported at various dog parks around Kelowna in the last few weeks.

The latest was reported Saturday morning, when a dog was rushed to Fairfield Animal Clinic with symptoms of poisonings.

The suspected cause is donuts soaked in antifreeze at Hartman's Dog Park in Rutland.

“We were at the Rutland Dog Park when one of my dogs went into the corner and he was eating something and I went over to see what it was and it was an odd coloured donut."

The dog’s owner who does not want to be identified for fear of repercussions (we will call her 'S') told us that her little greyhound could have died from the antifreeze if she had not got him to the vet in time.

“What would have happened if I hadn’t been watching him? He would have come home and got very sick and possibly died, thank goodness I got him to the vet right away," says S.

S says there was a man standing outside the park that warned what her pup had eaten was in fact antifreeze.

“This guy came over who was standing outside the fence and he said don’t let your dog eat those they are covered in antifreeze and I am cleaning them up, even though he had been standing outside the fence for a while watching him eat them," explains S, something she still finds suspicious.

And this isn't the first case; according to Rob Whittle (below) he found antifreeze soaked buns last weekend in Glenmore's Dog Park.

The City of Kelowna says they’ve received several reports of people smelling antifreeze in the dog parks but so far have no physical evidence of it.

S wants to know why the public was not warned right away.

“I am going to call the parks department Monday morning because I want to know why there wasn’t a warning sent out or even signs in the dog parks just warning people that this could have even been possibly going on.”

The City of Kelowna Parks Department could not be reached for comment.

The RCMP tells Castanet they are aware of the complaints but so far have no open files on this matter as to their knowledge no dog owners have come forward to the police.

S says she wanted to file a police report but because her dog was made to throw up right away, within 30 minutes of ingesting the donuts, his blood sample would not show any signs of the antifreeze. 

“Because it wasn’t absorbed into his blood there isn’t a sample large enough to give to the RCMP, so they cannot press charges," says S.

Castanet also spoke with her veterinarian Fairfield Animal Hospital who tells us there is no evidence to prove that it was in fact antifreeze as the dog did not test positive and that the current theories are based on suspicion.

Regardless S wants a warning out to other dog owners in Kelowna.

"Someone is targeting dogs in our dog park and if you go there with your dogs be very cautious or I would say don’t go at all right now.”

"It's disgusting that someone would try and hurt an animal," said Alli Sandberg, who has been coming to the Rutland Dog Park every day for the last six months.  "It's kind of scary."

If you have any stories, evidence, photos, or video of antifreeze in your local dog park email us at [email protected]

With files from Adam Proskiw


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