The fatal poisoning of a beloved horse and dog as a result of eating cookies laced with oleander is under investigation by deputies in California.
The horse, Cowboy, and the dog, Rosie, were euthanized due to kidney and heart failure associated with the poisoning.
The owner of the animals, Leslie Webb, said on her Facebook page: “I cannot begin to comprehend what has just happened, but all I can now do is whatever necessary for the protection of my surviving animals as well as myself.
“I can only pray, as well, and ask you all to do the same, for the truth of this to be revealed in whatever way possible.”
She appealed for anyone who knows anything about the case to come forward and talk to Neil Bailey, of the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department.
The department said it was notified of the case on February 12.
The veterinarians believed the animals died of oleander toxicity, the department reported.
“The method that the oleander was delivered to the animals was likely some home-made cookies that were tainted with the plant, which is highly poisonous to animals.
“The horse cookies were sent for toxicology examination at a laboratory and the results were positive for the presence of ground oleander.
“Placement of the toxic treats within the contained private property, where the animals would surely consume them, was intentional,” the department said in a statement.
The poisoning occurred in a small area of the unincorporated area of Sebastopol along Kennedy Road.
Deputies said neighbors have been contacted regarding the incident.
“Sonoma County Animal Control has been advised of the report, but this is a criminal investigation led by the sheriff’s office.
“This case is an open and ongoing case led by a deputy assigned to the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office Rural Crime Task Force.”
The statement continued: “This occurrence of animal cruelty appears to be an isolated event. While there may be other recent livestock deaths, there is only this sole incident of confirmed intentional poisoning.
“We are actively investigating and following up on strong leads that have identified a person of interest.
“Details will only be released in a manner that does not interfere with the integrity of the investigation.
“We appreciate the concern for our animals’ welfare and we are sorry for the loss suffered by the owner.”
The department appealed to anyone with information on the case call its Investigations Tip Line at 707-565- 2185 or submit information on the Silent Witness form on its website. You can remain anonymous if you desire. Report #160219-010