Is Someone Purposely Poisoning Dogs In Riverside Park?

A Handful Of Pets Died In Similar Fashion Earlier This Summer; Owners Furious – September 10, 2012 11:36 PM

Riverside Park (Photo:

Riverside Park (Photo:

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Pet owners are sounding the alarm about a possible deadly danger in Washington Heights. Four dogs died over two days, and the one thing they all had in common was a walk in Riverside Park.

On Monday night, CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider talked to grieving pet owners about the mysterious deaths.

Kim Heismann and her son said they are still mourning the sudden death of their dog “Charlie.”

“I miss him tremendously. He was my running buddy,” Heismann said.

1010 WINS’ John Montone reports

Charlie suffered a seizure and died within hours of being walked right at Riverside Park, his owner said.

It was the same day “Tugs” died.

“He had another seizure when we walked in the door and then he was gone.  Five minutes later he was gone,” owner Matthew Wood said.

Heismann said she knew something was up, because her roommate’s dog also died the same day.

She said she posted signs and started meeting with her neighbors.

“She told us what had happened to her dogs and it was too much of a coincidence,” Emily Picard said.

At least four dogs died after being walked in the park on the same day in July. For its part, the Parks Department insisted that it stopped rat poisoning months before.

Riverside ParkDog owners in and around Riverside Park in Washington Heights were disturbed upon learning of the coincidences involving the deaths of four dogs earlier this summer. (Photo: CBS 2)

So now the people in this neighborhood are working alongside the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to investigate and to see if any more dogs are in danger.

“It just makes me wonder, really, what’s going on?” Heismann said.

Dr. David Bessler of Bluepearl Veterinary Partners admitted it’s a mystery and likely has nothing to do with any leftover rat poison in the park.

“These are not the symptoms that we see with rat poisoning.  The majority of rat poisons that we see out there cause bleeding and not seizures like this,” Bessler said.

He said it could’ve been heat stroke, but Heismann said she is afraid it’s something more sinister.

“This is a totally healthy dog and I can’t believe he would die from heat stroke,” Heismann said.

There’s now fear that someone is deliberately poisoning their dogs.

“It’s a really terrible thing to go through when you have this pet and it’s part of your family and you’ve had it a really long time, and then all the sudden they’re totally healthy and then they’re gone,” Picard said.

An investigation is ongoing, so for now people around the park are keeping their dogs on a tight leash.

If the rumors of intentional poisoning prove to be true, it could lead to criminal charges of animal cruelty.

What do you think is going on here? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below …