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Sonoma County Sheriff's Office
Tuesday February 23rd, 2016 :: 12:36 p.m. PST


Sonoma County Sheriff’s Rural Crime Task Force Investigates Animal Cruelty Case

On February 12, 2016, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a possible animal poisoning case. A woman reported that two of her horses and her dog had been poisoned. We subsequently learned that only one horse survived – her other horse and dog died. The veterinarians treating the animals believed, from results of their necropsies, the animals died of oleander toxicity.

The method that the oleander was delivered to the animals was likely some homemade cookies that were tainted with the plant – which is highly poisonous to animals. Placement of the toxic treats within the contained private property, where the animals would surely consume them, was intentional.

The poisoning occurred in a small area of the unincorporated area of Sebastopol along Kennedy Road. Neighbors have been contacted regarding the incident.

Sonoma County Animal Control has been advised of the report, but this is a criminal investigation led by the Sheriff’s Office. This case is an open and on-going case led by a Deputy assigned to the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office Rural Crime Task Force.

This occurrence of animal cruelty appears to be an isolated event. While there may be other recent livestock deaths, there is only this sole incident of confirmed intentional poisoning. We are actively investigating and following up on strong leads that have identified as person of interest. Details will only be released in a manner that does not interfere with the integrity of the investigation.

We appreciate the concern for our animals’ welfare and we are sorry for the loss suffered by the owner. If you are an animal owner who believes your animal was killed intentionally by means of oleander poisoning, please contact the Sheriff’s Office. We are asking that anyone with information pertaining to this case call our Investigations Tip Line at 707-565- 2185 or submit information on the Silent Witness form on our website. You can remain anonymous if you desire.

Report #160219-010

Prepared by Sergeant Cecile Focha
Media Relations / PIO

Sonoma County Sheriff's Office
2796 Ventura Ave
Santa Rosa, CA 95403

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 707-565-2650

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