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Poisonings in Portland
PORTLAND, Ore. - In this congenitally dog-friendly city, where dogs once
roamed free in city parks, someone is taking a debate over leash laws to a
sinister level: Eight dogs have died, reportedly from eating poisoned
sausage left in a park, and eight others have taken sick.
Autopsies indicated that someone laced the meat with the herbicide paraquat,
veterinarians say. The poisonings began weeks after a round of local media
reports dissecting the tensions surrounding the leash/no-leash issue in city
Canine owners are on edge, certain that some lifelong dog-hater got sniffed
one too many times by an unleashed pet, and decided to take revenge. They
are packing fundraisers around the city to contribute toward a reward for
information leading to an arrest. So far, the take is $13,000 and counting.
The dogs who have died were all roaming leafy Laurelhurst Park, recently
identified in a study by graduate students at Portland State University as
the park generating the highest number of complaints about off-leash dogs.
The popular park has been almost deserted since word first spread about the
poisonings, and the few dog owners who do show up keep their tethers tight.
Megan Premo was walking there Thursday with Phoenix, an Australian Shepherd
mix, restraining the dog every time he strained toward a clutch of nearby
"It's a shame I can't let him off the leash without him getting in some
poisoned sausage" said Premo, 24, the leash wound securely around her wrist.
Those in favor of leash-free parks have reported threats and insults yelled
at them from the leash-your-dog crowd while in parks.
Last month, the city council voted to spend $60,000 to enforce leash laws.
The laws were ignored for years, angering those who leash their dogs and
non-dog people, and spurring pro-leash advocates to launch a web-site,
leashyourdog.com, for reporting free-roaming dogs.
(AP) Scott Dunlap of Portland signs a memorial wall at a benefit for a
reward fund in Portland, Ore.,...
The site includes candid spy photos of free-roaming dogs and their owners,
arguments for leash laws and links to updates about the Laurelhurst
The first sick dogs arrived at Dove Lewis Emergency Animal Hospital July 3
suffering from vomiting, diarrhea and mouth ulcers. Owners of the afflicted
dogs said their pets had scarfed down something resembling a piece of
pepperoni before they fell ill.
Police spokesman Henry Groepper said police had no suspects and no motive.
But on Thursday, a waitress at the Lucky Lab, a canine-friendly bar holding
a fund-raiser for the reward pot, fielded an anonymous call from a man
saying the dog killings would spread to a second park.
"He wanted me to tell the media he was moving this campaign to Mount Tabor,"
waitress Anette Hunt said.
Premo, who was walking Phoenix for friends, was strolling past a bucolic
duck pond when her cell phone rang.
"He hasn't eaten anything," she said to the caller. "We're leaving right
"I just got yelled at by the owner," she said. "Now I'm in the dog house."
It is a travesty hearing about this news in your area.
Why wouldn't dog owners lobby to have a portion of park fenced in for
exclusive dog-run use.
We have done this in the area I live in and it has been very successful.
People and dogs have always had confrontations of privacy and space, and the
dogs are loosing. Perhaps there is a way to reach a solution with both
sides making some small concessions.
The dogs would still have their run space, and for people who don't care to
be in the presence of dogs can have their space too.
By the way, I am a dog owner, and have seen and experienced the
ramifications of my dog approaching a human being who didn't want to be
approached by a dog.