Westcrest warning from owner of “double survivor” dog


That’s Mo, a Chow mix who lives with Cammie Owen — after being rescued from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, plagued by mange but ready to thrive in a new home. You would think the hurricane would have been enough of an ordeal that this dog should have had smooth sailing ever since, but then came a sudden, life-threatening sickness:


That’s Mo just days ago, his belly shaved after an ultrasound, as vets tried frantically to figure out what was wrong with him. Cammie says they believe he ingested rat poison — and she suspects that happened at Westcrest Park, where she has put up warning flyers. And she says he’s not the only dog that runs there that’s gotten sick:

We talked to Cammie this afternoon after reading a note she sent to an online group. She says Mo is recovering at home now, but still pretty lethargic. He got sick earlier this week — so sick, he needed blood transfusions, and that’s part of why it’s believed that rat poison is what made him sick; it interferes with blood clotting — the antidote is Vitamin K, and Cammie says Mo responded well to Vitamin K injections, followed by pills that he will have to take for several weeks.

How he might have ingested rat poison at Westcrest is a mystery. The Parks Department does not put out poison, confirms Carol Baker of the Seattle Parks Department‘s Southwest division. As for the possibility that a rat ate poison somewhere else and wound up at Westcrest, Cammie says Mo isn’t usually the type to play with rats, dead or alive.

After he got sick Monday night, Mo had to spend two nights in the hospital. His history as a Katrina survivor — adopted by Cammie after Pasado’s Safe Haven rescued him and brought him here — is well-known (his website is here), and her voice broke as she told us about the incredible outpouring of love and well-wishing for him.

She has put up flyers at Westcrest to warn others to be careful. And she says other dogs may already have gotten sick; she told WSB she’s talked with several people walking dogs at Westcrest who say the dogs had gotten sick. She says others have told her of seeing dead rats at the park. If you see anything suspicious, resembling poison, the Parks Department wants to hear from you — leave a message with its Southwest maintenance team at 684-7457 (and of course, if you see anything indicating an emergency, call 911).

While talking late today to Carol Baker from the Parks Department about the Westcrest concerns, we received the e-mail we mentioned in this earlier post. She said she had not received any reports about Fauntleroy Park concerns since the one involved in our original report in mid-January; she says Parks Department employees walked the trails to look for signs of the reported poison bait, but didn’t see anything.

You may wonder how you would know if your dog had been poisoned; a commenter asked that on our earlier thread, and in case you missed it here, this is Cammie’s reply:

“I can tell you what signs to look for, though symptoms might not be present for several days after digesting the poison. Signs include lethargy, weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, bloody vomit or diarrhea. Mo’s symptoms came on so fast, within hours. He ate a normal dinner, slept in his bed while we watched a movie (which is not abnormal for him so I thought nothing of it), then at 10 pm he was literally found so weak he could not hold his head up and could barely let out a whimper.

Here is some more information on Rat Poisoning in dogs.


31 Replies to "Westcrest warning from owner of "double survivor" dog"

  • Onyx February 1, 2008 (10:16 pm)

    Sweet Mo is known the whole world over as a gentle loving boy who would never do any harm to anyone. It takes a really emotionally bankrupt soul to do something like this, we will pray for that person even as we continue to pray for Mo’s recovery. We Wuvs Yew Mo!!

  • Mikal February 1, 2008 (11:58 pm)

    I’m guessing somone is doing it to prevent cat and little dog deaths from the coyotes. I hope whomever is doing the baiting has lost a pet. Get a leash you moron or keep your cat in or THEY DESERVE IT.

  • Cammie February 2, 2008 (1:07 am)

    To Mikal, Rat poison is A terrible, slow death to anyone who encounters it. Leash or not you fool, this could be your pet!

    Did you read the info on how this poison works? it makes it so that the blood in the body cannot clot, causing massive internal bleeding. I don’t really are if it is a rat that ingests this poison, it is inhumane, and cruel.


    I hope your animals are safe at home tonight…

  • Bubba February 2, 2008 (7:26 am)

    Cammie, in your pain over your experience I think you mis-read Mikal’s post.

  • Lachlan February 2, 2008 (8:25 am)

    OMG! Cammie and her babies are personal friends. This is so disheartening. Mo is a great dog and he’s in the best hands.

    I hope this apparent spate of poisonings is random and not deliberate. The thought chills me.

  • Kristen February 2, 2008 (9:23 am)

    At the dog park, dogs are supposed to be safe to run free WITHOUT leashes on. It is SICK that anyone would cause such pain in animals on purpose. If someone is putting rat poison out there in the DOG park, he or she knows that DOGS (not just coyotes) will be there.

    May Mo and any other dogs effected get well soon!

  • Mikal February 2, 2008 (9:31 am)

    I’m not for the poison. Whomever did it is sick.

  • Lachlan February 2, 2008 (10:03 am)

    That they are, Mikal. I really hope you’re right that the person(s) responsible weren’t being malicious, just insanely short-sighted. The alternative is too ugly to contemplate.

  • Cammie February 2, 2008 (11:20 am)

    Mikal, I read your post as if ANYONE who let their cat outside, or walked their dog without a leash, then they deserved to be poisoned. I apologize. I see yuo were saying that the POISONER’s animals deserved it (I don’t think any animal deserves it, the poisoner does, but I see what you were saying now)

    This whole situation has been agonizing, and our family is mentally, emotionally and physically exhausted. Sorry.

  • Dan Davis February 2, 2008 (11:44 am)

    Cammie- Dont think you needed to apologize, both Mikals wording and intent are questionable, at the very least, but good for you on taking the high road. Hope Momo is doing better.

  • Cammie February 2, 2008 (11:50 am)

    Thanks Dan. He seems the same today, no better, no worse. I would love to see him perk up a bit! It might take a little while, considering what his little body went through.

  • Mikal February 2, 2008 (1:00 pm)

    Dogs should be allowed to run free in the dog park. I was suggesting that the person that did this has probably lost a cat and was attempting to strike back. I have real issues with outdoor cats for what they do to the bird population. Sorry ,I think that people that let their cats run wild are incredibly selfish. I hope Momo is doing better.

  • Lachlan February 2, 2008 (2:39 pm)

    Went and visited Mo and Cammie today, all.

    He was bright-eyed and full of kisses. He looks a bit rough around the edges due to being shaved, but he definitely enjoyed the visit.

    I think he’s on the road to recovery, and for dog’s sake, everyone- be extra vigilant for your fur babies and everyone else’s. We don’t know what we’re looking for, so keeping our eyes peeled and watching for suspicious behavior/items will help break this wide open.

  •   Dodging Death Twice: Mohawk’s Story — My So-Called Blog February 2, 2008 (3:10 pm)

    […] my surprise and horror when I clicked through to my favorite hyper-local blog and saw this: Mo, a Chow mix who lives with Cammie Owen — after being rescued from the aftermath of Hurricane […]

  • Nance Carter February 3, 2008 (12:43 pm)

    I was at Westcrest with my dogs on 02.01.08 and upon my return my dog McCoy had convulsions with his tong hanging out the side of his month and his body twitching. My other dog had no problems.When we were at the park there were about 50 new bright yellow tennis balls and McCoy chased after many of them and carried many in his month. I am wondering if there was something on the balls as he has very displayed any thing like this before.

  • Cammie February 3, 2008 (4:51 pm)

    Nance, I don’t think the tennis balls are the culprit. I know a man that comes with his two beloved dogs and spreads new balls by the bagfull for all the dogs. His own dogs play with the balls too. Sounds like your dog had a seizure, which could be caused by any number of things. Seizures can occur at any time in a dog’s life. Was he seen by your vet? I hope McCoy is doing well now.

  • Westcrest Steward February 4, 2008 (12:00 am)

    I’m sure many of you have seen the story of “possible dog poisoning at the park” on one of the many news channels. Cammie, Mo’s mom and I talked about the issue and both agreed it was a sensitive one, and to be careful with the media. We’re all glad that Mo’s recovering well, and glad to see him back at the park.
    However, some of the media has reported responsibly, and others haven’t.
    Some have pointed out that there’s no indication or evidence of any deliberate rat poisoning taking place at Westcrest, and others haven’t.
    There have been dead rats found at the park, but no poison has been found.
    Cammie and I both agreed that we didn’t want this issue to scare people away from Westcrest, but to be aware of your surroundings and to be vigilant in all aspects of the park and watch eachothers backs, and keep our dogs safe!
    It’s a big area that is only patrolled by us, so we are vulnerable to something like this happening.
    It’s a great little community we have and let’s keep it that way!
    Steve McElhenney (Westcrest Steward)

  • onceachef February 4, 2008 (8:58 am)

    I read Mikal’s first post and also thought “what a jerk” (actually worse, but I won’t post the words)…I re-read it and…sorry, I still think it’s the wrong message. Revenge is not going to solve this, whether it’s the poisoner, his(her) animals, cats whatever…only we, as pet owners, can stop this…be vigilant…watch your dog, watch others and speak up if you see an anomaly…too often we try to be inobtrusive.

    There was prior “talk” about the tennis balls being tainted a few wekks ago…while I was there a woman was gathering all of the balls because of a “stomach virus” that was going around…could be all connected. If someone knows how to get a ball (or two) tested for poison compounds that would be the quickest way to an answer (about whether the balls are tainted or not) My dog has played with them continually since that day and hasn’t had any issues.

  • Deva February 4, 2008 (9:52 am)

    We live very close to Westcrest and walk there weekly for dog park visits. Is there any confirmation that the poisoning happened there? Just wondering if it was confirmed or if this is just the most likely culprit?

  • Nance Carter February 4, 2008 (9:53 am)

    Thank you for the information on the balls, rat poison, sotomach virus and seizures. My vet took a blood test and there was not signs of a seizure. McCoy is doing well now and back to being a sweet dog.

  • Cammie February 4, 2008 (11:03 am)

    Steve is right. The media has cut a lot of what I said during the interviews yesterday. I told all the reporters that I have not SEEN rat poison at Westcrest, but with the recent amount of dead rats found at the park, and the fact that poisoned bones and treats have reportedly been found at Fauntleroy, it seems the most likely that it happened there, and my hunch is in the woods outside of the off leash park. It could also be that someone through something over my fence as well, but none of my neighbors dogs have been sick either. Other dogs have been sick recently at Westcrest, one I know had bloody diarrhea/stool, but so far, Mo seems to have had the worst case. If anyone knows of other dogs that have been sick, I would like to know.

  • Cammie February 4, 2008 (12:34 pm)

    My last post was confusing. When I said “it most likely happened there” I was referring to Westcrest, not Fauntleroy, as we haven’t been to Fauntleroy. And no, there has been no poison found at Westcrest like there has been at Fauntleroy, but we walk the trails behind/adjacent to the off leash park almost daily, so it is the “most likely culprit” as Deva asked.

    I hope that is a little more clear.

  • mike February 4, 2008 (9:13 pm)

    Hello All,
    Cammie, our sympathy is with you! We personally have experienced the exact same thing. It wasn’t malicious with our case, but was traumatic just the same (a vacation rental house had it in their garage and our little Beagle (Max) got into it). The only reason we’re posting is to inform the readers of some common, yet not always published, symptoms: Within the first 24 hours, a bright green poop. I don’t mean to be graphic, but we’re talking christmas green. Secondly, dogs may show super hyper-excitability. Think of your dog on crack; that hyper. Also look out for tremors and bleeding (max bled into the orb behind his eyeball on the 3rd day and subsequently was diagnosed with a retro bulbar abcess – which turned out to be incorrect). My recommendation is that if you see any of these symtoms, get Vitamin K pills right away. They won’t hurt your little friend, but just might save a little life.

  • Cammie February 5, 2008 (6:10 pm)

    Mike, thank you so much for adding that! I meant to do it, but have been a little befuddled with everything this week. The rat poisons are either bright green, or sometimes turquoise blue as well. Any time someone’s dog has one of these colorful poops, the vet needs to be called immediately. The one saving grace about rat poison (the anti-coagulant ones) is that with early detection and treatment, the outcome is very positive, and shouldn’t cause any residual liver or kidney damage.


  • erin February 6, 2008 (4:36 pm)

    Just an addition the Cammies post. The EARLIER the better with interventions for rat poisonings. I didn’t know this until our dogs accidentally got into rat poison but it can take up to 4+ hours for a dog to digest it’s food. So if you see them eat something suspicious get them right to the vet immediately. They will induce vomiting for poisons of this nature with hydrogen peroxide and give vitamin K pills too. If you can get them quick do it. Call the vet on the way there. Tell them what you supect, and how much your dog weighs so they can be ready to dose them appropriately. We were in eastern wa. when it happened to us, and lucked out. The closest vet was 20 minutes up the road, and we got them there, and had them vomiting up their breakfast 10 minutes later. Now we have our own stash of peroxide just in case. Good luck. We run with our dogs at westcrest 5 days a week, and will keep a close eye out. Does anyone know if any of the dogs that just spend time in the off leash area primarily got sick?,or were they both there and in the woods? We so appreciate this park. Good luck to you all.-e

  • Cathy N February 27, 2008 (9:27 pm)

    I live near West Crest Park- My dog has not been to the park lately, but did find some meat that someone threw out on a side hill near our neigbhors near 8th and Kenyon. My dog proceeded to get very sick-vomitting and diarreah for a few days. She’s recovering and I don’t know if it was poison or not. But just wanted to warn others just in case.

  • Holly Brauer March 12, 2008 (5:39 pm)

    I wanted to let you know that the same thing happened to me last week. My 3 1/2 year old lab died after ingesting rat poison that she could have only gotten from our local off-leash dog park. After the word getting around the office about my dog’s horrible death (which came on just like your dog’s, with one minute normal, 2 hours later, immobile in a pile of feces and vomit), a co-worker told me of her best friend’s dog dying of rat poison after being at the park a month earlier. I can’t imagine these things happening but they do. My other dog is sick – my lab saved him by being the alpha-hog, eating most of it – and I am hoping he will survive.

  • Cammie March 23, 2008 (4:58 pm)

    Holly, I am so sorry to hear about your lab. We are very lucky that Mo made it. What park are you referring to? Have any authorities been notified? City of Seattle parks department would like to be notified of any suspected poisonings.

    I hope your other dog is recovering.

    Sending sympathy for your loss…

  • Pet Urns April 5, 2008 (11:27 pm)

    I hope Mo makes a full recover and you find out who did this. I’ve never understood how people can be so mean to animals…

  • timon July 11, 2008 (7:47 pm)

    Cammie, my dog started behaving strange in the last week. The vet said she has liver failure, but in all honesty I can’t quite believe that it would be so sudden.
    So I come to find out today that 3 coworkers in a company of 120 people have had their dogs die in unforeseen, odd ways over the last 3wks, one was put to sleep this very day. This seemed odd to me. I then find your story after contemplating this coincidence. And now as I look above I see Holly’s story as well. Kayla has had a gradual decline over several days which is consistent with her liver diagnosis, but a fellow worker had his dog die suddenly over a period of hours, which is consistent with your experience. I will share this with him. I hope your pets come out of this ok.

  • dave December 6, 2008 (9:40 am)

    my pet cats are bright inteligent beings and are as valuble to me as a family’ there is only one answer to having a pet murdered , click,

    knock knock .

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