Animal poisoning investigated in Union County

Sheriff: 8 dogs killed by poison substance

UNION COUNTY, Fla. - Kathy Todd told Channel 4 Thursday night that her dogs are her life. She described them like they are her children, and when she knew they were in distress last week, she didn't think twice about trying to find out what was wrong.

"Right in here is where the two dogs were eating, and I'm thinking it was one dog had thrown it up and the other dogs had come to it and I leaned over no more closer than this and it took my breath and I knew we were in trouble," said Todd.

When Todd got to the dogs, two had already died. She said the smell of the substance the dogs had gotten into smelled like ammonia. Todd said she knew someone was responsible for doing that to her animals. 

"He went out to the barn and he found his big dog Chuck dead, and I left the truck running and we called the Sheriff's Department and our female lab Ginger was dead," Todd said. "They just started passing through the night, and the next morning we had one left that was pretty seriously ill and we took him to our vet and they had to put him to sleep."

The Union County Sheriff's Office investigated the dog's death and ruled that the animals were poisoned. The animal abuse case will now get turned over to the State Attorney's office.

"It is a terrible terrible crime. Cruelty to animals is something we will not tolerate in Union County," said Union County Sheriff Brad Whitehead. "We have completed investigation and forwarded it to the state attorney for appropriate handling."

Todd told Channel 4 the intense smell lingered with her for days, and even when she took the dogs to the vet for care, the vet and his technician felt disoriented from the smell that came from the animals.

"It just took my breath away, and we had collected some of it when we found the dog dead out back. Now knowing what it was, we took it in the house and put it in bag, it actually ate through a plastic bag," said Todd. 

In total, eight of Todd's 15 dogs died after being poisoned last Thursday night. She told Channel 4 Thursday that they want to know who is responsible for the crime and they want justice for their four legged family members. 

"It's been a week now but it feels like it just happened. I told my husband, I hope this is the closest we will get to know what it feels like to have a family member murdered," said Todd. "They were our babies. I never knew, naive of me I guess, to think these things don't happen. I've never witnessed anything like that." 

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