2008-11-29 / News

Buckeye Lake Estates cats were poisoned

By Scott Rawdon

BUCKEYE LAKE - Tuna used to bait cats the Buckeye Lake Estates contained poison, an Ohio Department of Agriculture animal disease diagnostic laboratory report confirmed.

Licking County Animal Control Director Jon Luzio said the matter will be turned over to the Licking County Prosecutor next week, who will decide how to proceed with the case from there. Luzio said poisoning pets is a fourth degree misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of a $250 fine and 30 days in jail. There may be additional cruelty charges, he said, although the county will need to confirm that the poisoned cats had owners. Luzio was unwilling to say if the county suspects who poisoned the cats because he didn't want to "jeopardize the case."

According to the Department of Agriculture report, one of two bait samples from a Buckeye Lake Estates lot tested positive for bifenthrin, an insecticide that attacks insects' nervous systems. According to the report, it has roughly the same effect on cats.

Last August, stray cats caused major tension between Buckeye Lake Estates neighbors, one of whom was angry toward the other presumably for feeding strays. According to Buckeye Lake Police Department reports, the two people had several verbal disputes, which eventually led to the grandson of the person feeding the strays assaulting the neighbor who was threatening his grandmother. The grandmother believed the threatening neighbor was mistreating the cats, including poisoning them, although there was no direct proof of abuse, according to police reports. The neighbor strongly denied any mistreatment of cats, saying the cats were only being trapped and taken to the animal shelter or given to farmers.

BARK Animal Rescue founder Bonnie Mansfield requested the toxicology tests on the tuna used to bait the cats.

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