Pet alert: West Seattle dog recovering from poison


That’s Coco the dog, wearing bandages where she needed IV treatment for medications and fluids after an apparent poisoning right in her own yard in the 47th/Genesee vicinity (here’s a map). We first heard from Coco’s owner Kate K very early this morning, and then a followup after they visited the vet – she’s also put up flyers to get the word out (we just got e-mail about one of them) – here’s her story:

This was our first e-mail from Kate around 1:30 this morning:

Had to rush my dog Coco to the vet this evening because she was poisoned with rat or snail bait. We don’t keep that around because we have pets so how did it get in our fenced yard? Our dog Coco (Australian Cattle Dog) is doing better but it was a huge scare. I wonder if this has happened to anyone else in the neighborhood. I can give you more details tomorrow and I’ll also be making a police report in the morning and will put up flyers warning people. We have lots of dogs on this street and I’m scared for them. We’re lucky we were home when she first fell ill and that Coco is so young and healthy. An older, smaller or weaker dog might not have pulled through.

We e-mailed Kate back immediately and said we’d wait to talk with her the next day (today) – we have since communicated by phone and e-mail.

Kate says, “About 45 minutes after we think she ate the poison in the yard last night, she started having tremors, paralysis and vomiting.” She says this is what Dr. Beth Guerra wrote in the report from Animal Critical Care:

Presumptive Diagnosis: Metaldehyde Toxicity

I suspect Coco has ingested a tremorgenic toxin, possibly slugbait poison which contains metaldehyde, a chemical that causes neurological and musculoskeletal signs. If these clinical signs are severe enough, exposure can be fatal. It is imperative to have an animal seen if there is even a possibility of ingestion. The initial signs of metaldehyde exposure include restlessness and anxiety. This progresses to salivation, tremors and ataxia/incoordination. At advanced stages of toxicity, rapid heart and respiratory rates occur, along with
convulsions, seizures and extremely high body temperatures.

Kate says Coco is doing better now, and adds that she is filing a report with Seattle Police. We asked if she knew of any reason why someone might deliberately try to hurt Coco – neighbor dispute, or ? She said she has no idea; Coco barks when people pass the yard, but certainly that’s not unusual. “I don’t have a clue who would do this,” Kate told us, “and that’s why it’s so frightening.” 3:28 PM UPDATE: For those who don’t usually read comments – Kate has posted an update there, after talking with authorities.

29 Replies to "Pet alert: West Seattle dog recovering from poison"

  • Jill August 22, 2008 (12:27 pm)

    We live about 3 blocks away on 44th & Genesee. About a month ago we came home and our dog (who had been in the fenced front yard the entire day) was suddenly extremely ill. She had many of the same symptoms as Coco so we took her to the vet. Unfortunately the vet thought it could be many different ailments, including poisoning, however we ruled that out because we did not have anything toxic in our yard.

    Sadly, after a few days and many trips to the vet, our dog had fallen so ill our only choice was to put her to sleep. I don’t mean to cause alarm with this post, but given the proximity and similar symptoms I did want to share.

  • Alki August 22, 2008 (1:37 pm)

    It’s beyond my comprehension that somebody would poison a dog. I’m thankful that we have this site to share these types of situations, so we can all be on the lookout.

  • Susan August 22, 2008 (1:47 pm)

    We also live on 47th at Genesee. Two weeks before Christmas 2005 our dog was poisoned. Thankfully we were able to get him to a vet in time, but it was terrible. Santa brought him a stomach pump!

    We have neighbors on our same block who were not so lucky. Their dog was poisoned last year and died.

  • deb August 22, 2008 (2:04 pm)

    Oh no! Not more pet-related WS trouble! And just when I was starting to feel that all was right in the world again, after the pugs were recovered. Rats.

    It’s terrible to think that someone would intentionally poison a pet, and it’s making me extra-paranoid about letting my own dog out in what should be his safe haven of a back yard. I’m glad a police report has been filed.

    I’m so glad to hear that Coco is doing better. She is adorable! Please give her a nice scratch behind the ears from me, your neighbor about 9 blocks east of you.

  • WSB August 22, 2008 (2:09 pm)

    We were sorry to hear it too. But still, glad at least that the folks involved are taking the time to alert the community so that more people can be on the lookout – both protecting their pets and also watching for anything/anyone suspicious.

  • Hope August 22, 2008 (2:14 pm)

    ***This scares the bahgeesus outta me! Is there anyone out there that is a techno person who can set up a nanny cam in this area? Let’s catch this MF!!! My heart goes out to those of you who have lost beloved animals and those who have had their babies made ill. Some would argue this type of behavior “starts” on animals then moves on to people. NOT safe to have someone like this around our homes, what if a child gets harmed? Time for a SPY~CAM!

  • Carrie B. August 22, 2008 (2:49 pm)

    I’m glad to hear that Coco is doing better. Can’t imagine how scary that must have been. We have two dogs ourselves that are often hanging out in our back yard. Can anyone tell me where in West Seattle we would take them in case of an emergency such as this?

  • Carrie B. August 22, 2008 (2:50 pm)

    That is if it’s after hours and our vet is closed for the day.

  • Kate August 22, 2008 (2:50 pm)

    Update on Coco case:

    Seattle Police referred me to Animal Control and they were just here. They took an extensive report including details from the emergency vet report and photos as evidence.

    Coco is recovering today and I’m sure it was due to the vets at Animal Critical Care (on Lake City Way) who recognized her symptoms as poisoning immediately and took the action needed to get it out of her system and treat her symptoms.

    I’m so sorry to hear Jill’s dog fell ill and had to be put to sleep. I mentioned this to Animal Control and they want to be contacted about anything that’s happened where poison is suspected so they can try to find out who is doing this, if it’s random, targeted or whatever. Jill, please call them.

    Katherine Rich is the Animal Control Humane Law Enforcement Officer that came out this afternoon. Anyone who suspects a pet has been poisoned, please contact her at 206.386.7387. Coco’s case # is 08-11770 if you want to use that as a reference.


  • koni August 22, 2008 (2:58 pm)

    Carrie B. – there is an emergency vet in Burien that is 24hr, but the one on Stone Way by greenlake is better (also 24hr) from my pet emergency experiences over the years. ;)

  • Kate August 22, 2008 (3:10 pm)

    As mentioned above, Coco went to the after hours emergency clinic at Animal Critical Care on Lake City Way and I highly recommend them. I’ve been there more than once over the years. It’s in the same building is Animal Cancer Specialists who are excellent if you need ever need them. They helped my last dog live to a ripe old age. Information on both below:

    Animal Critical Care & Emrgncy –
    11536 Lake City Way NE, Seattle – (206) 364-1660

    Animal Cancer Specialists –
    11536 Lake City Way NE, Seattle – (206) 364-3733

  • Lachlan August 22, 2008 (3:47 pm)

    I think this is a great time to remind pet owners (myself included) to:

    -learn the signs of poisoning
    -note/memorize the closest ER Vets
    -remember not to leave one’s pet unattended

    Is it just me, or does there seem to be a Bermuda triangle of poisoning going on, given the location and times shared here? Any chance there is a cantankerous neighbor who complains all the time? I have this odd feeling it’s not someone who lives outside the neighborhood.

  • mongo August 22, 2008 (3:50 pm)

    Re: emergency vets —

    I will echo Kate’s high recommendation for ACCS in Lake City. We’ve taken our dogs there a number of times — and found them to be highly competent technically, as well as compassionate to both us and our dogs.

    Based on our experiences with ACCS, as well as Emerald City Emergency Clinic (the one on Stone Way), I’d recommend ACCS as first choice. Have never used the Burien emergency vet.

    Re: Cause of the poisoning —

    I think I missed something in the details here. What evidence is there that these poisonings are intentional?

  • melissa August 22, 2008 (4:37 pm)

    R.E. 5 Corners in Burien: I had a great (wrong word in this instance, but my brain is sun-addled) experience when my dog sickened two winters ago. She was old, sick and getting sicker. It was pouring, late, I was leaving for the east coast the next morning, had my two young kids with me, my husband was out of the country — pretty much the worst timing for this sort of thing. Anyway, I took her there and they were about as gentle and kind as they could have been. They helped support me in the necessary decision to euthanize her; she was miserable and her body was shutting down, but it was still so very hard. I recommend them highly.

  • melissa August 22, 2008 (4:38 pm)

    Forgive me for not responding to the original post. I’m terribly shocked about these dog poisonings and hope that no more occur. My heart goes out to the people who have the ailing dogs.

  • JT August 22, 2008 (5:09 pm)

    Emergency vet discussion from the forums

  • Teri August 22, 2008 (5:32 pm)

    Emergency Vet Recommendations

    1. Five Corners 24 hour Care in Burien.
    2. Animal Critical Care & Emrgncy.
    3. South Seattle Vet, 11033 1st Ave S, (206) 242-8338. They offer 24 hour emergency care…call ahead and the Vet will meet you there as he lives very close by.

  • Bayou August 22, 2008 (5:53 pm)

    I get the impression these poisonings were intentional, since Jill et al never stated that they used the suspected/likely agents (snailbait/rat poison) in their yard. Additionally, Coco’s owner emphatically stated that they do not use such items in their yard. That pretty much leaves intentional poisoning.

  • WSB August 22, 2008 (7:42 pm)

    Note for those following this thread, this was my vote for today’s “most likely to be followed up by citywide media” story, and indeed, Kate says KING5 saw this report and was heading over to interview her. Since they still have the Olympics, that means 10 pm on channel 6 and not-sure-when on channel 5 (last night their late news on 5 was after midnight); we’ll post an update with the online link (and a summary of today’s developments here) when we see it – TR

  • Elikapeka August 22, 2008 (8:17 pm)

    What is wrong with people? To poison an animal anytime is awful, but when it’s in its own yard! I hope this person is caught, and soon.

    As far as emergency care, I’ve used Five Corners in Burien on three different occasions with sick kitties in the middle of the night, and have been very satisfied. Dr. Rachel Meyer ( I think that’s her name) who covers nights there is wonderful. Followup with our regular vet, Dr. Kraabel at Lien was thorough and prompt. And I can’t recommend Lien highly enough for your regular vet visits. It’s absolutely the best clinic I’ve ever used.

  • charlabob August 22, 2008 (9:04 pm)

    This definitely sounds like a good job for a surveillance camera — is there a neighborhood watch in the area that might spring for one? Could the local policing get a supply of cameras to loan for such emergencies? Some areas used to do that for radar guns to capture speeders.

    I am absolutely opposed to cities having surveillance cams on every block; and absolutely in favor of citizen action that does it.

    Obviously, it shouldn’t be discussed publicly, so the perp knows what’s coming, but enough people now, sadly, know about each other.

  • lina August 22, 2008 (10:34 pm)

    i know it has already been said but man, coco looks so sweet and cute. i wish her a healthy recovery and lots of treats.

  • HP August 22, 2008 (11:12 pm)

    This is is so scary, what a sleazebag to poison a dog in its own yard. Well wishes for Coco.

  • cheyenne August 23, 2008 (6:54 am)

    It’s possible the culprits are clearing the way for burglary attempts. Dogs are the best burglar alarm and thieves are well aware of that fact.

  • John L August 23, 2008 (8:58 am)

    Here is a news report about Coco from KING 5 news:


  • Michele August 26, 2008 (11:31 am)

    Do you know what the slug bait was in or on? I doubt Coco would have eaten the bait alone – was it a hotdog or some other type of meat? That might provide another clue or give us something to look for.

    Also, how high was your fence?

  • Kate August 27, 2008 (8:27 pm)

    We think the slug bait was placed in something like hamburger. Hard to tell exactly what it was in her vomit, but there was definitely a golfball-sized chunk of something besides her kibble in there, plus dark green chunks which were the poison.

    The cedar fence around our yard is six feet high, so someone had to purposely throw it over.

  • Michael September 1, 2008 (2:13 pm)

    Barking dogs are a nuisance and drive property values down. When the owners don’t care, this is what can happen.

  • Katie September 3, 2008 (9:40 pm)

    Wow, Michael, how do you even know this dog was barking? What a hostile assumption. Sounds to me from reading all the posts that these owners care very much about this dog. Even if he were barking, does that entitle someone to poison him?!

Sorry, comment time is over.