ADA — Imagine getting a late night call from relatives in another state telling you your father passed away. Everyone in the house is awake, the dogs know something is wrong, but don’t understand what’s going on. You let them outside while you think about what needs to be done before making the trip out of state. When you let the dogs back in, only one is barking, another is sick, and two are dead near your back door.

Debbie Rodgers, whose dachsunds have been her “babies” for several years, was frantic to find out what happened to her dogs that killed them in an hour’s time. She searched the yard and the alley behind her house and noticed two large dogs running loose were eating food behind her neighbor’s house. She honked a truck horn to drive the dogs away, which is probably why only the lab died and the pit bull survived.

Ada police say nine dogs in Rodgers’ 800 block of West 7th and 8th streets may have died as a result of eating strychnine-tained meat.

That night Rodgers didn’t understand why the dogs in the neighbor’s yard weren’t barking or back at the alley where the loose dogs had been, so she checked on them. She found Rowdy, the corgie, was in convulsions, and Ophie, the german shepherd in distress. By the time she was able to wake owner Ted Townsend, Rowdy was dead, and Ophie needed help. Townsend searched his backyard and found hamburger meat that he took with him to the veterinarian in the early morning hours. Dr. Vickie Brandon tended to Ophie, but was unable to save him. He died about 9 p.m., some 17 hours later.

Rodgers didn’t stop after waking Townsend; she went to the neighbor between their houses and alerted them. The lab in that backyard was also dead. Rodgers and her sister haven’t stopped there either. They don’t want other neighbors to experience the grief they are going through of losing a beloved pet. Neighbors agree they feel violated and angry that someone would do that to their families. It is quiet for the most part on that block, some dogs are visible, some are brought inside until they feel safe again.

Townsend said he invested a great deal of time with his two dogs, his friends, and he will get another german shepard. Right now he’s lonely for the company they gave him, the sound of their voices letting him know the postman was coming, or that someone was too near that didn’t belong.

“They’re at rest on my parents’ place, in a shady spot near the pond,” said Townsend. He says people who would poison a dog probably don’t care that it could have been a child, and that is reason to be angry.

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