Pelham Police investigating mysterious dog deaths


UPDATE: Police tell CBS 42 that they have been canvassing the Crosscreek neighborhood, looking for potential witnesses, but there are some obstacles.

“Most of them have left for the weekend, going on vacation or taking a trip for Memorial Day,” said Lt. Doug Setliff.

Setliff said the department is investigating the dogs’ deaths as a potential poisoning, and that there are some leads, on which he was unable to elaborate.

“We’re following up on those and next week we’ll hopefully be able to narrow that down,” Setliff said.

Meanwhile, investigators are trying to obtain blood work done on one of the dogs, Nico, right before he was euthanized.

Both deceased dogs are buried in their respective owner’s yard, and Setliff said investigators are trying to get answers without resorting to digging up the bodies.

Setliff said the department hasn’t received any more reports of dogs suddenly falling ill, aside from the original two. Because the dogs were next door to each other, Setliff said it’s likely that other dogs in the neighborhood aren’t at risk, but nothing has been ruled out.

He’s still asking that dog owners keep an eye on their pets and report anything suspicious.

“As a pet owner, they’re part of the family, and you want to make sure that they’re taken care of, and if something happens to them, you want to see that something’s done about it,” Setliff said.

PELHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Neighbors are looking for answers after two dogs died and a third got sick, all within nine days.

It started on Mother’s Day, on Wilderness Road in Pelham’s Crosscreek neighborhood.

Kaitie Read and her boyfriend were moving out of his mother’s house and into an apartment in Birmingham, when they were told to come back to the house.

Their dog, Nico, was laying by a pile of firewood in the backyard.

“He was not our Nico,” Read said. “He was not playful, he wasn’t — he wasn’t even breathing right. My boyfriend had to pick him up. He wouldn’t even walk to the car.”

Read and her boyfriend rushed Nico to an emergency veterinarian, where tests for parasites and parvovirus came back negative.

Nico was euthanized.

“We didn’t want to put him through any pain. We didn’t want him to suffer,” Read said.

Meanwhile, Read noticed that her other dog, Panda, was also not feeling well.

“We thought it was a snake bite, but neither dog had any bites on them. Then I looked up poisonous plants, checked the yard for poisonous plants. There were no poisonous plants in the yard,” Read said. “I’ve even checked the dog bones we give to them. I checked their food. I’ve looked into what type of toys we give him. None of them come back as the symptoms of what Nico had.”

Panda eventually recovered, but Read now keeps him away from the house on Wilderness Road.

Read said she suspects her dogs were poisoned.

“I’m 100 percent sure that something happened to my dog, because he was healthy. He was — he was a puppy. He was barely even a year old, and he just died. He just got sick and we had to put him down,” Read said.

Her suspicions piqued when Oden, the dog next door, died Tuesday.

Timothy McPhail said he came home from work, and Oden didn’t come when he called him.

“I saw him laying next to the campfire pit,” McPhail said. “As i came up to him, I thought that he was just resting, but then I saw all the flies on him.”

Oden was also one year old.

McPhail said the coonhound had just been looked at by a veterinarian days before his death.

“There was absolutely no indication that it would happen,” McPhail said. “He just laid down and died.”

McPhail is unable to confirm whether Oden ingested poison, because he would have to send his dog’s body to a laboratory in Auburn to be tested, an expense he can’t afford.

McPhail did file a report with the Pelham Police Department, as did his neighbors.

“At least we have a paper trail of these events occurring, and if it continues to occur, the police are able to use that information to try and track down somebody,” McPhail said.

If you have any information that can help investigators, call the Pelham Police Department at (205) 620-6550.

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