Ralph Edwards was over the moon last summer when he brought Cali, an adorable 3-month-old Rottweiler puppy, to his home in Washington Heights. She quickly became a beloved member of the family.
But two weeks ago, the mischievous dog fell seriously ill one morning without any warning.
She wasn’t eating, was lethargic and even “looked very sad,” Edwards, a 42-year-old building superintendent, told the Post. He took Cali to the vet, where she was put on antibiotics and had several tests.
“They called us back and said she was really sick and we needed to take her to the hospital,” Edwards recalled.
He took the dog to the hospital, and she quickly got worse.
“His kidneys and his liver [had] failed,” he said.
Edwards had to make the heartbreaking decision to put the sick dog down. Although vets can’t say for sure what made the pup so sick so quickly – they initially thought it was the deadly bacterial leptospirosis but tested negative – he thinks that it was rat poison that she consumed in the streets of the city.
“The only other thing that could have gone through it so quickly was the poison they told me,” Edwards said. “She was a puppy, we didn’t really take her anywhere or out of town or anything like that. Just walks around the neighborhood and that was about it. I just to put all the pieces together.
According to Dr. Ann Marie Zollo, an emergency and critical care specialist at Schwarzman Animal Medical Center on 62 St.
“It basically gives you an overdose of vitamin D, which can ultimately lead to high calcium and kidney failure,” Zollo told the Post.
In recent days, two more dogs have died in the Washington Heights area where Cali lived and roamed. Edwards said rat poison was again the likely culprit. Neighbors have since posted flyers around Cabrini Boulevard warning pet owners.
“It’s a very sad thing that happened [to Cali],” he said. “Now it’s about raising awareness and this is a neighborhood where dog owners look out for each other.”
The property management at 140 boulevard Cabrini is also working on raising awareness. An email – obtained by The Post – has been sent to residents of the building, warning them to be on the lookout for “pink pellets” on the ground near the building.
“Please be vigilant when walking your dog in the area, please also inform your dog walkers of this issue,” the memo reads, adding that guards had not planted said poison.
“It could be someone with no attachment to properties doing this.”
But the problem of dogs exposed to rat poison is anything but unique to the upper Manhattan nabe, Zollo said.
“It’s something that we unfortunately see with some regularity,” Zollo told the Post. “It really can happen in any part of town. Because, as we all know, there are mice and rats all over New York. »
She’s not kidding. Recent rodent sightings in the city are up 70% from the same period two years ago – residents observed more than 21,500 creatures scurrying around, up from 18,601 in 2021.
But Zollo says there’s another potential reason for a high frequency of cases these days.
“We know more people have had pets during the pandemic. So there may be a little upside because of that.
Whatever the reason, poisonings are devastating to dog owners.
“It’s been heartbreaking,” Edwards said. “I’ve never had such love from an animal in my life.”
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