Close to six canines suffered from an unusually aggressive stomach virus with symptoms of diarrhea and vomiting. Monika Dominik said her five-year-old Golden Retriever Molly began “puking profusely” after taking a regular morning stroll through the park.
“We’re hoping that no one is trying to cause harm to the animals,” Dominik said.
One dog owner reported that his Golden Lab picked up a stuffed animal soaked in antifreeze while playing in the park, however he never called in a police report.
“A lot of things come to mind when you hear that,” Dominik said.
Dominik added that there have also been unusual amounts of food scraps left behind throughout the park, something she suggests could be a possible, yet unlikely, cause for the outbreak.
Although her dog underwent blood tests at a nearby clinic, the veterinarian told her nothing unusual was found.
“When we spoke with the vet, she said it could be food related; but she eats what we eat, not dog food,” Dominik said. “We were all okay, but not Molly.”
Dorothy Gaugler, a founding member of the Juniper Dog Lovers, said she noticed piles of dog food and “strategically placed” bread loafs underneath some of the trees in the park around the time the dogs started getting sick.
“It was definitely 100 percent placed there,” Gaugler said. “We we’re thinking to ourselves, ‘what person thinks they’re feeding the squirrels with that amount of food?’”
A spokesperson with the Parks Department said they are aware of the concerns, however they have no answer to why the dogs are sick.
“While we haven’t found anything unusual in the park, we will continue to clean and monitor the area,” the spokesperson said.
In response to the large amount of food dumping in the park, Gaugler said a Parks Department representative told her they were now treating parts of the park for rats that have gathered there as a result.
“They didn’t want to do poison rat traps,” Gaugler said she was told by the department. “They just recently dug up some [rat] burrows in the area.”
Although there has not been any confirmation that the dogs were poisoned purposefully or indirectly, Gaugler said at the end of the day she hopes the issue would bring the food-dumping problem in the park to light.
“It’s an awesome park and a lot of people work really hard to keep it clean,” she said. “Hopefully the negative publicity might have a positive result.”