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5 Dogs’ Deaths Linked to Strychnine Poisoning

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TIMES STAFF WRITER

Laboratory tests confirmed Tuesday that the deaths of five dogs within four days in a one-block neighborhood last month were caused by strychnine poisoning.

The test results will prompt further investigation to determine whether the poisonings were intentional, said Peter Persic, spokesman for the Los Angeles Animal Services Department.

An earlier toxicology report ruled out the most common type of poisoning--anticoagulants used to kill rodents. Further tests, however, found the strychnine poison. Persic said strychnine also is commonly used in rat, mole, gopher and coyote poisons--often sold in pellet form coated with a flavor pleasing to animals.

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“We now know that it was indeed poisonings,” Persic said. “We will go back out and talk to the neighbors . . . to try to find a clue as to whether it was intentional or accidental. It is possible it may have been malicious poisonings.” But he warned that without witnesses, chances of finding a suspect are slim.

All of the poisonings occurred between May 6 and 9 in the 14000 block of Arlee Place, in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains.

Three of the dogs were strays that had been running in the neighborhood for months, while two others were pets, including a chow mix.

Persic said no further poisonings have been reported since residents were warned to keep pets in their yards.

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