The morning of Tuesday, March 21, a Trail RCMP officer responded to the suspicious deaths of two family dogs in the 4000 block of Casino Road, in the outskirts of Trail.
The owners and their dogs lived within close proximity to each other and the dogs were occasional playmates.
Both dogs were reported to have roamed the rural neighbourhood as well as their own large properties.
The first pet death happened on Sunday, March 19.
Police say the dog’s owner, a 42-year-old woman, found her dog deceased in her yard.
The cause of death of this first death is not yet confirmed.
Then on Monday, March 20, the same woman reported she saw her deceased dog’s playmate eating a piece of meat in her yard.
Before she could intervene, the neighbour’s dog ran off.
A short time later, the neighbour discovered his dog convulsing on his property before rushing it to the local veterinarian hospital.
Unfortunately, his dog died in transport despite his quick action and valiant efforts to save its life.
His deceased dog underwent laboratory testing which confirmed the presence of strychnine.
The investigating officer concluded that the first dog had likely been poisoned with strychnine as well.
The officer suspects that an unknown person may have been illegally baiting coyotes with poisoned meat in an effort to kill the wild animals.
Police say this practice is common despite being illegal and dangerous to other animals.
The BC Conversation Officer Service has been contacted about the poisoning and suspected poisoning, the Trail RCMP confirm.
The RCMP is looking for information on the identity of the suspect responsible for these two deaths.
Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Trail detachment at 250.364.2566.
As the investigation continues to unfold and to prevent another potential poisoning, Trail RCMP Sgt. Mike Wicentowich advises dog owners to discourage roaming by keeping their pets inside, leashed, or fenced.
Strychnine is a highly toxic, colourless, bitter, crystalline alkaloid used as a pesticide, particularly for killing small vertebrates such as birds and rodents. Strychnine, when inhaled, swallowed, or absorbed through the eyes or mouth, causes poisoning which results in muscular convulsions and eventually death through asphyxia.
While it is no longer used medicinally, it was used historically in small doses to strengthen muscle contractions, such as a heart and bowel stimulant and performance-enhancing drug. The most common source is from the seeds of the Strychnos nux-vomica tree.