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Old September 9th, 2004, 03:54 PM
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Donna Marie Donna Marie is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2002
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Be careful in Saskatoon Parks!!!!

Strychnine-laced wieners left in some east-side Saskatoon parks have killed five dogs within the past week and put another into intensive care at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM).

One other dog has fully recovered from a poisoning, which have angered and saddened dog owners and infuriated vets.

Luka, a 14-month-old border collie-whippet cross owned by Kevin Sutton and his wife Cheryl Brooke, died Tuesday. Champ, their curly-haired, autumn-red golden retriever, is heavily sedated at the WCVM.

"We don't have any kids, these are our kids. We come home to them after work and they're there with us in the mornings. They go everywhere with us," Sutton said.

"We're just hoping (Champ) lives up to his name and pulls through."

The poisonings have prompted warnings for parents as the tainted wieners were by playgrounds.

"I would hate to lose any of my animals to an act of violence, but I would far rather that somebody just shot them than did this. This is so cruel," said Vivianne Jones of the Central Animal Hospital.

"Kids stick everything in their mouth so it is important that parents really watch them in those parks," added Jones.

"All this needs is for one little kid to pick it (tainted meat) up and we'd be potentially dealing with, well . . . it would be bad."

The affected dogs were playing in parks in the Nutana, Holliston and Grosvenor Park neighbourhoods. The first case for the WCVM was Thursday night. That was followed by three more Saturday, one Sunday and two on Tuesday. There were no reported cases Wednesday.

Vets at the WCVM intensive care unit where eight-year-old Champ lay sleeping and hooked to monitors are optimistic. On Wednesday afternoon, he was breathing deeper and had a swallow reflex, which indicates control over his muscles.

On the metal bedframe near his head is a photo, attached with white medical tape, of him and Luka laying side-by-side. Champ's arm is outstretched across Luka's side.

"It's right after they were playing and they're tired right out," said Sutton, who described Luka as a "little schmoozer" and snuggler.

"That's just not there now," he said, his voice trailing off.

On Tuesday morning, Sutton was in Grosvenor Park throwing sticks for the dogs. They dashed off and became distracted near a garbage can next to the playground. A boy on swings told Sutton they were eating a hot dog.

Sutton called them back, put them in his van and went to the grocery store a few blocks away. He estimates he was in the store for five minutes. When he returned Luka was dead inside the van.

"I tried to resuscitate him but I couldn't do anything," Sutton said, breaking into a sob.

He went home and called his vet in Martensville. As he and Brooke prepared to go, Champ's legs gave out and he fell down a few stairs. He got up but his legs were quivering and he had a dazed look.

In the van Champ went into seizures as Cheryl held him. With no time to get to Martensville, they went to the WCVM. Champ was put under anesthetic to suppress the central nervous system. When the dosage was lowered later in the afternoon, he began to seizure again and his temperature spiked.
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