Tainted meatballs placed along popular trail blamed for death of several dogs.
Poisoned meat left along remote walking trails in Cumberland County, New Jersey may have claimed two more lives.
A man came forward Wednesday claiming that his two dogs died about two weeks ago after apparently eating tainted meatballs along a trail in the Dividing Creek area in Downe Township, according to the local SPCA.
Three dogs died about a week earlier after eating raw meat left along the same trails, said the SPCA.
On Monday, reports surfaced that those dogs suffered painful deaths after eating apparently tainted bait meat.
Joan Jerdel’s Golden Retriever Raymond died after going for a walk on Feb. 10.
He gulped down a tennis ball-sized hunk of raw meat that he found along the trail, according to Jerdel.
Within minutes the 5-year-old Retriever began to shake and foam at the mouth as he struggled to breath.
Jerdel rushed him to a local animal hospital but it was too late for Raymond -- he died less than 30 minutes later.
The apparent cause of death was poisoning, said authorities.
Michelle Jenkins' dogs suffered a similar fate the next day after eating bait meat in the same area, she said.
Authorities were examining stomach samples and meat samples to find out exactly what poison possibly killed the dogs.
After the dogs died more allegedly poisoned meatballs were found along the trail, authorities said.
It wasn't clear who left the poisoned meat along the trail or why they would want to hurt any animals.
“Our highest hopes from our family and the community is that this devious perpetrator is found out and punished to the fullest extent of the law,” Jerdel said. “Our family is distraught about the loss of our dog.”
Original poison tests on the meatballs came up empty but it's possible that the meat contains a poison that wasn't included in the test.
A $500 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest in the case.
Anyone with details about who could be behind the poisoned meat should contact the Cumberland County SPCA.