May 03, 2013 - 5:05 PM
Someone must have hand-fed his dogs poison when he wasn't home.
That's Dan Bitor's conclusion as he tried to figure out how his four dogs, Tank, Shotgun (aka Sugar Bear), Norton and Gene Simmons, came into contact with rodenticide, a form of rat poison. Shotgun and Tank had to be euthanized. Norton and Gene Simmons are still recovering.
Bitor thinks when he was away on a trip someone visited his property on Westbench Drive and called the dogs over to the fence. He said whoever it was had to hand-feed each dog. If a pile of edible poison was left on the ground, one dog would have eaten it all.
When he came home some of his dogs were acting strange. Gene Simmons's gums and tongue were the colour of coffee cream instead of the usual pink and he started coughing up blood. Bitor took Gene to Fairfield Animal Hospital in Kelowna and was told his dog was poisoned. "Essentially, you drown in your own blood," is the effect of rodenticide Bitor said.
When he got home his other dogs began to show symptoms. Tank the pitbull had trouble walking. Shotgun the chocolate Labrador fell into his bed. Norton the golden retriever was also having trouble. He took Tank to a veterinarian but the pitbull was put down soon after. The same went for Shotgun on Monday. Norton survived. Bitor figured Norton and Gene were a year old and in good shape. Tank and Shotgun were about 11.
"I know you are going to out-live your pet," Bitor said on Friday. He sat outside his home with Gene at his side. "Tank and Sugar (Shotgun) didn't deserve to die that way."
He said Tank was a "freaking good animal," who was gentle, great with the other dogs as well as with children and infants. Shotgun was rescued from an abusive life in the U.S.
"He had a horrible beginning. Abused, left chained up. And had a horrible end to his life."
Neighbour Robin Brown misses Tank. So does 11-year-old Dante Brown and his eight-year-old sister Kailyn Brown. "They were big friends," Dante said.
Bitor doesn't know what to do with his remaining dogs. Gene is not allowed to run until he recovers. When that ends Bitor said he might have to leave his dogs inside his house when he is away.
He contacted the RCMP and a conservation officer but they found no evidence. Bitor might install a video camera to watch his front yard fence.
To contact a reporter for this story, email Shannon Quesnel at firstname.lastname@example.org, call 250-488-3065 or tweet @shannonquesnel1
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013